Garden Soup {zucchini, brocolli, mint + basil}

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Greenness, in food, is so often an afterthought. A little sprig of parsley or a scattering of fresh mint or little side of spinach because you have to have something green on the plate. A little bit of green has always been somewhat of an aesthetic band-aid in the culinary world; a scant handful of rocket can make a plate of bacon look like an exercise in clean eating, a scattering of iceberg lettuce will lend seeming freshness to an otherwise lackluster kebab. My mother even served spaghetti with a side of broccoli, aghast at the thought of a colourless plate. This soup is different. It’s not green because it has to be, it’s green because it wants to be. It chooses to taste fresh and clean and sweet with basil. It tastes of spring and lushness and ripeness for none other than the reason that these are such good things to taste of. It’s warming and invigorating all at once. A harmonious marriage of winter and spring. (And it practically begs to be countered by a generous hand of Parmesan and a crispy buttered roll.) I could rhapsodize for hours but perhaps I ought to just slurp it quietly and pass the recipe on instead.

Garden Soup

Six or seven large (very large) zucchini, chopped
One big head of brocolli, chopped
One leek, white parts only, chopped
Four cloves of garlic, minced
One onion, diced
500ml of chicken consomme
Sea salt and cracked pepper
A big handful of basil
A big handful of mint
A handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Thick Greek yogurt, to serve

In a large pot, saute the garlic and onion and the leek in a little olive oil until transparent. Add the zucchini and the broccoli and stir about for two to three minutes. Then add the stock. Put a lid on the saucepan and let it come to the boil. Simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Then add in your big handful of basil leaves. And your Parmesan. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Then, use a hand blender, or a food processor, to blend it all until smooth. This isn’t a thirty second job, persevere for at least five or ten minutes in order to attain the most glorious and velvety consistency that you ever did imagine. Divide between bowls, reheating first back in the pot if necessary. Top with big spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, chopped mint and more Parmesan cheese. Eat with toasted baguettes and obscene amounts of salted butter. Bon Apetit!

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