I feel really lucky that my clinic, The Little Green Clinic has its own little cafe on the ground floor where lovely Ann keeps a fire going for us and makes delicious, home made soups, drinks and cakes.
We keep everything seasonal and with a gentle, therapeutic angle as much as possible, so people can relax by the fire and have something to warm them up inside as well as out while the weather stays Wintery.
So Ann and I were really excited to be asked by our local magazine, Ulverston Now, to contribute a recipe for the March issue!
March has many of the same challenges, health wise, that February faces. It’s still a cold month, although some Spring greens start appearing as the month progresses. And aren’t they welcome when they appear! I know that we can buy almost anything all year round in supermarkets these days, but it’s not the same, somehow as the real thing! Take strawberries for example; they have no scent at all through the Winter, then there’ll be a day in Spring when you smell a punnet and suddenly remember how they should taste!
We wanted to put together a recipe to help people feel better. Everyone can feel run down by February and March. There’s the long, exciting run up to Christmas, with all it’s challenges; then the short, cold, wet days of January and February. We’re just not built to handle those conditions easily, although there’s lots we can do to make it all go more comfortably.
So both February and March are asking for food which is nourishing, warming, seasonal and has some therapeutic properties to ward off all the flues and coughs; aches and tiredness that are doing the rounds (every year February and March fill my waiting room with the sound of coughing, and I see so many sore necks and backs!)
We wanted to give a recipe for something that would be both nourishing and warming; full of flavour but possible to make as both a vegan and a vegetarian version with simple changes.
So here it is! Our very own take on Ribollita soup. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!
Winter warming Ribolita with Chermoula and vegetarian parmesan (V and DF if no parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese or vegan cheese)
|· 3 red onions, medium, diced. Sweat in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent (approx. 5 min)
· 3 carrots, medium, chopped into 1cm chunks
· 2 leeks, chopped into 1cm chunks
· 3 cloves garlic – crushed
· Approx 200g green beans, topped and tailed, chopped into quarters
· 3 sticks celery – diced, 1cm
· 1 large sweet potato, diced 1cm chunks
Put the lid on and sweat for 20 minutes until veg is soft
· 2 litres of stock (vegan marigold)
· I bottle of passata ( about 750ml), and 1 tin plum tomatoes, (chop in tin before adding)
· 2 tins cannellini beans (incl their water from the tin) (1 tin roughly mashed with fork)
· 100ml cider vinegar
· 2 tsps chermoula or, if you want it even warmer than try baharat spice blend. You could make your own chermoula by grinding together coriander seeds, paprika, black pepper corns, chilli flakes and some cumin, all fried in some olive oil with some garlic and a splash of lemon juice at the end. Baharat uses the same spices and adds more warmth with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and green cardamom. I particularly like this spice blend because the cardamom helps digestion (and the taste is AMAZING!). I make my own blends if I have time, but you can buy them online from the brilliant company, Spice Mountain, that trades from one of my favourite places; Borough Market.
Cook for another 10 minutes
· 200 g chopped kale or spinach
· 1 tsp of ground pepper
Cook for 25 minutes for kale, 10 minutes for spinach
· 25g ( a big hand full) of flat leaf parsley just before serving
Serve with sour cream and vegetarian hard cheese, or soya cream and vegan cheese.
I love to break lots of toasted sour dough into mine!