Friday, 4 May 2012

Purple Rain

Some people feel the rain,
Others just get wet...
Some people feel the sunshine,
Others just forget... 

I’ve been away in Cornwall and have returned rested, to find purple rain…

The gentle pitter patter on the window,
Blends well with gentle chatter you know?
And makes soulful soup even more delicious,
This lovely recipe is gorgeously tasty and very nutritious.
Ah friendships grow more beautiful with time,
Like this simmering broth, with a generous squeeze of lime!
So when the rain falls see a purple hue,
For it's up to us to bring colour to everything we do!

Why purple rain? Purple is the highest colour, and when I want to get some inspiration, I think of the colour purple ~ it uplifts, encourages creativity and calms the nerves, it is also said to be royal and noble. When you want to tune into your higher self think purple… 
April, the wettest in years, demonstrated the intangible, though in truth, the very essence of life. 
An April skyline

This very simple and significant maxim - nature is both unpredictable and out of our control, how lovely, how refreshing, how beautiful! And despite our noble efforts, nature remains the fairest artist of our time. In contrast last year, the summer seemed to fall in April, gracing the royal wedding, surely it was one of the driest?

Cooking celebrates nature. In the same way one has free will, one may also choose what to cook, what to bake, what to forsake, what ingredients to use, what not to include, and while ones effort may fall on hard times, the food may burn, the sauce may be to thick, the soup too watery, the cake to dry, the company may not like the food you cook, they may even be ungrateful. Take comfort! NONE of this truly matters. We cannot and should not try to please others. In fact as I get older I’m realising that if I speak my truth, then I am happy, it’s as refreshingly simple as that. And if something makes me feel uncomfortable I look inside and often find the answer. Plus, those who love you aren't to fussed about how many Michelin stars you may or may not have, its the company that makes for the most memorable meals. 

So when the heavens open and torrential rain comes a pouring, I take to the kitchen and make soup! These two recipes couple to make a  long lasting friendship. I shared them in my "Families First" column too - these joys will bring sunshine to your weekend I promise. Genoese Vegetable Soup with Fresh Mint Pesto, is subtle and fresh, warming, in a cosy, calmly cuddle by the fire, kind of way. And will wrap your taste buds lovingly and cleanse deeply all the while.

Firstly, the piece de resistance here is mint pesto, its sharp and sweet quality set this soup on fire. Once you’ve made your first batch,  you may struggle to buy a jar from the shop ever again, they just can't compete with the homemade stuff. Pesto takes minutes to make and keeps for up to six weeks, make sure you glug a lovely wash of olive on oil on top each time, to keep it fresh.

Secondly, soup, the mother of soul food and this delight from Genoa  is truly delicious. Quite simply this is the loveliest way to celebrate spring. In Genoa the cook always stirs in a spoonful of their local pesto towards the end of cooking. Perhaps you may do the same? And to add a bit of magic to your day, make a special wish, whilst stirring it in, it all adds to the dreamy experience. 

I love the playfulness found in soup, and the variations are indeed endless. I hope that if the rain is pouring near you, may it be gentle and delicately cleansing, purple even! 

Lots of love,


Mint Pesto
Mint, 1 large handful
Lemon, 1 a gentle squeeze of half
Pine nuts, 55g
Parmesan cheese, 55g grated
Garlic, 1 small clove peeled
Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp

PLACE all of the above ingredients into a food processor.
PULSE until a think paste begins to form.
LOOSEN with a little more olive oil, if you prefer a thinner pesto.
SEASON to taste spring joy.

Genoese Vegetable Soup with Fresh Mint Pesto
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Onion, 1 peeled and finely chopped
Celery stalks, 2 trimmed and finely chopped
Carrots, 2 finely diced
Green beans, 120g sliced into 2inch pieces
Courgette, 1 medium trimmed and sliced thinly
Spring onions, 2 trimmed and finely chopped
Potato, 1 medium cubed into ½ inch dices
Watercress, small bunch finely chopped
Savoy cabbage, ¼ head sliced julienne
Cannellini beans, 1 tin rinsed and drained
Tinned Italian chopped tomatoes, 1
Vegetable stock, 2 ½ pints
Dried vermicelli, 100g
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, 12 turns

HEAT olive oil in a large saucepan.
ADD olive oil, onion, celery, carrot and gently cook for 5 minutes.
STIR in green beans, courgette, potato, watercress, cabbage and cook for a further 5 minutes.
ADD cannellini beans and tinned tomatoes, giving everything a good stir.
POUR in stock and add pepper.
COVER with lid and simmer for 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
BREAK vermicelli into small pieces and add to soup.
SIMMER for a few more minutes until the pasta is al-dente.
SERVE in warm bowls with a spoonful of mint pesto and a drizzle of oil.


  1. Great post. Looks like your Pesto recipe could be something your old uncle could handle. I'm off to get some pine nuts.

  2. Ah, that makes me smile! I hope it is delicious and I'm sure Aunt Kate will enjoy being cooked for!!


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