Old friends reunion weekend.
Delicious Dishes illustrator Hope James comes for a few days sketching for the new book.
Our friends Tari and Marc keep her company on the flight.
Visionary gardeners both–they help cheer up a wet and cold February (the weather is atrocious and the fields are under water), with new configurations and plantings in the garden and courtyard.
Boggle (word game) is played and Fan Tan and I Doubt It! (card games).
Last night after dinner Meredith opened a door at the back of the house to close the shutters and shouted to everyone to take a look.
We did and what we saw was remarkable and unexpected.
A sudden snowstorm had magically transformed the landscape into a white wilderness–in the space of a couple of hours.
(No photo sadly–it was 11pm!)
This morning after a warmer night it had shrunk back to a disappointing near normal.
This evening this thick comforting soup serves as some compensation.
It has been eaten in Italy since Roman times.
The poet Horace wrote about heading for home and a bowl of leeks, pasta and chickpeas.
There are many variations on the theme of chickpeas and pasta. A constant flavour is rosemary.
450g cooked chickpeas–tinned or bottled
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot–chopped fine
1 stick of celery–chopped fine
1 small onion— chopped fine
4 garlic cloves–pulped with a teaspoon of salt
1 tbsp tomato concentrate
pinch of cayenne pepper--(optional)
a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of sage
750ml vegetable stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes
salt and black pepper
180gms small (tubular) pasta
olive oil to swirl in each bowl
- Purée two thirds of the cooked chickpeas in a food mixer.
- In a large pan gently sauté the carrot, celery and onion until they soften–about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, the cayenne if using and the herbs, mixing them in for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the tomato concentrate and cook a further couple of minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and the purée.
- Add the stock and the parmesan rind if using and bring the soup gently up to the boil.
- Add the pasta and stir well making sure the purée doesn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Season and simmer until the pasta is done–adding more water if it gets too thick.
- Serve hot.