Well, you may be getting sick of hearing about books here at The Teacup Chronicles (is that really possible?), but I’ve another book to tell you about – though this one is a cookbook rather than an herbal one, and you will get a delicious recipe out of the deal to boot. I have to admit that if there is one class of books that rivals my attention for herb and plant literature, it is the mighty cookbook. Those who know me will attest that my love of cookbooks borders nearly on obsession. I’ve so many that I hardly have enough space to fit them in the kitchen, and still there are always more lurking on the horizon, waiting patiently in saved amazon shopping carts for the blissful day when I can click on “buy now” and bring them home. I’ve even developed the endearing (though my husband might say aggravating) quality of giving each cookbook a name, as in “Skye has a wonderful recipe for a cauliflower soup,” or “Nigel says that black olives work better for this dish.” My husband always turns round with a confused, “who?” before he remembers that I am partially insane, and continues on with his task.
So you can imagine with my borderline pathological obsession with cookbooks, that I should find great happiness at discovering 101cookbooks.com – a blog/website that I’m sure many of you have heard of and love as dearly as I do. She posts recipes each week from her beloved collection, adding in her personal touches and slight alterations to the recipes to make them her own (and she has an amazing cookbook collection to choose from, so you can imagine how delicious each recipe is!) But the most exciting thing, which you must must MUST check out, is that she has started an online cookbook “library” of sorts, where people can post and review their favorite cookbooks, share recipes, etc. This is a cookbook lover’s paradise if ever there was one.
As part of her cookbook library, she has also started selecting a “book of the month” style selection, which encourages people to cook, review, share and write about the same cookbook for a month or two. When I saw that this month’s choice was Breakfast, Lunch and Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery (or Rose, as I call her…), well, how could I not participate! This cookbook is one of my most cherished, most favorite, most well-used cookbooks of all – the perfect blend of French panache and English comfort. You can find other recipes inspired by this book on my blog, such as this one for gingerbread, and this for a lovely savory tart.
The recipe I’m choosing to share with you first is one that has caught my eye many times when flipping through, but lacks the sort of catchy name or unexpected ingredient/ spice combinations that usually lead me to add a recipe to the weekly queue. But as in many instances of this kind, the humble ingredients and plain name disguised a truly exceptional soup. The almonds give it an exquisite creaminess that pairs so nicely with the simple larder of ingredients. I’ve added some greenery (parsley and dark leafies) to spruce it up nutritionally and roasted garlic, to give it an added depth of flavor – and left it chunky rather than completely pureed. In short, this is a perfect thing to nourish your spirits on these sloppy, snowy/sleety March days.
Green Bean and Almond Soup
I realize this isn’t exactly green bean season, so feel free to substitute another more seasonal vegetable or leave them out altogether if you wish.
- A few good spoonfuls of fat (butter, olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, etc)
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 small head of garlic (10-12 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 3 large handfuls green beans, trimmed
- 1 bunch dark leafy greens (kale, collards, etc)
- 1 quart vegetable stock (or enough to cover the vegetables by an inch)
- 1 cup ground almonds
- Lemon wedges and olive oil for serving
Split the head of garlic into individual cloves, and peel them. Toss the peeled cloves in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until softened and slightly browned.
Meanwhile, heat the fat in a saucepan, and add your onions, celery and carrots over a low heat, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, cooking until the vegetables have softened and are beginning to golden in color.
Add the beans and stir well for about 5 minutes, then add your stock. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
Add the ground almonds to the soup, stirring well. When the soup has cooled slightly, transfer a third of the soup to a food processor or blender along with the roasted garlic, and process until smooth.
Add the blended soup back into the pot along with the greens, and heat until the greens begin to soften and turn bright green. Season well. Serve in bowls with a generous sprinkling of parsley, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil if you wish.