Minestrone soup & carrot cake cupcakes – Everyone’s kitchen

Menu of the day

Winter minestrone 

Carrot cake cupcake

Harvest of the day

For the soup: celery, chard, parsley, savoy cabbage, oregano, kale, broccoli leaves

For the cupcakes: calendula, borage

Winter minestrone soup (x5)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots , roughly chopped
  • 1 large red onion , coarsely chopped
  • 1 head of celery , coarsely chopped, keeping the leaves
  • 1 head of garlic , cloves peeled
  • 1kg Swiss chard , leaves shredded and stalks roughly chopped or savoy cabbage 
  • a good handful of parsley , finely chopped
  • 400g can peeled plum tomatoes , drained of most of their juices, roughly chopped
  • 1kg cavolo nero , stalks removed, leaves shredded (or savoy cabbage)
  • 410g can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
  • about 700ml boiling chicken or vegetable stock
  • a few sprigs of winter herbs such as thyme or sage, chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan , or vegetarian alternative
  • extra-virgin olive oil , for drizzling

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and slowly fry the carrots, onion and celery until soft and dark. This will take about 20 minutes but it’s worth it – the slow cooking gives a lovely taste. Add the garlic, chard stalks and half the parsley, and stir to prevent sticking. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced.

Add half the Swiss chard leaves, half the cavolo nero, three-quarters of the beans, and the boiling stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour in more stock if needed – don’t add too much – it should be thick.

Add the remaining Swiss chard and cavolo nero and blanch briefly so they remain green and crisp. Season when slightly cooled.

Add remaining beans to the soup – it should be very green. Stir in the herbs and serve hot with Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Carrot cake cupcakes (x12)

Ingredients

  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 200g carrots, grated
  • orange coloured sprinkles, edible flowers, to decorate
  • Optional: add sultanas 

For the icing

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 300g soft cheese
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flours, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and orange zest. Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients with the grated carrot. Divide the mixture between cases and bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

For the icing, beat the butter until really soft, then beat in the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Use a palette or cutlery knife to swirl the icing on top of the cakes, then decorate with the sprinkles.

Thank you Ula for the pictures!

Published by Nadegegrows

Garden Assistant/Tend and Share project worker

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