The birds sing, the sun shines and the People’s President is sworn in ….

20140404-185300.jpg

I sit in the garden, the weather is glorious and I am overwhelmed by the brilliant light we are accustomed to here, a brightness I appreciate so much after years of English gray skies. And as my minestra cooks indoors, I watch the inauguration of the 9th President on my IPad.

20140404-185315.jpg

On the screen I see well-wishers from all walks of life as the President mingles with the crowds. Her Presidency will focus on diversity and inclusiveness. She is there for the people and she is adored by them.

20140404-185333.jpg

Tonight, we are having a light supper of vegetable minestra with ham hock, peppered cheeselets and sourdough bread and you will not believe how good the local bread is….

1 kilo Vegetables of your choice, chopped and peeled, to include carrots, pumpkin, potatoes and zucchini
2 Stock Cubes
1 kilo pulses to include split peas, and barley, orange lentils, cannelloni beans, chick peas, all dried and soaked overnight
1 ham hock
Water
Tomato Purée, calculate about 1 spoon per two portions
Onion, 1/4 per, two portions
Garlic clove, optional
Parsley, finely chopped
Seasoning
A drizzle of olive oil for cooking the vegetables
You can also add small pasta shapes but we left this out today.

For a vegetarian option leave out the ham hock

Sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped vegetables and pulses stirring continuously on low heat. Dissolve the stock cube/s in some hot water and add to the pot. Add the ham hock, then water to the vegetables until they are immersed. Bring to boil and simmer for an hour making sure that the water does not dry out and carry on cooking for a bit longer if necessary. The vegetables and pulses should be soft.
Stir and add some tomato purée and around 10 g of small pasta shapes per portion. Today we had ours without the pasta. Season. Remove from heat once the pasta is cooked and add some of the finely chopped parsley and give it another stir. Cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Serve with finely grated Parmeggiano Reggiano and we like ours with lots of freshly ground pepper.