All of these storms call for a healthy serving of comfort food, and it doesn’t come much more comforting than a big bowl of ribollita. Ribollita is a traditional hearty Tuscan soup or stew, made with stale bread and featuring “dark greens and lots of beans”. Ribollita translates as “reboiled” which, along with its loose recipe gives away it’s Italian peasant origins; it was made by reboiling leftover vegetable or minestrone soup and bulking it out with beans and leftover stale bread. The bread should be crusty and a little stale, so that it soaks up some of the liquid but retains its shape rather than dissolving! As yet more named storms batter the country, I’d encourage you to make a big pot of ribollita, hunker down, and get comfy!
Ribollita (serves 4-6)
Cannellini beans (or any tinned/dried beans) if dried, soak overnight
1 bay leaf
High welfare pancetta
2 red onion
2 sticks of celery
3 cloves garlic
Tsp fennel seeds
½ fresh chilli (optional)
1 tin tomatoes
1 handful of stale crusty bread
⅔ cavolo nero
¼ of a cabbage
FOR THE ANCHOVY DRESSING
1 tin anchovies
1 clove garlic
Red wine vinegar
Finely chop your carrot, onion, celery, garlic then heat a large pan with a splash of olive oil, bay leaf and pinch of salt. Add the pancetta then sweat the veg very slowly, adding water if necessary. Sweat for a good 10-15 mins, not browning the vegetables.Then add the tomatoes and season. Add the beans with a little water and generous amount of black pepper, bring back to the boil. Then slice the cabbages and add to the pot. Roughly tear the bread and throw it in. The soup wants to be thick but not dry, so just keep an eye on the water level and adjust if necessary. For the dressing finely chop the anchovies, herbs and garlic. Then combine with the vinegar and oil. Ladle into warm bowls and finish with the dressing on top. Serve on a cold and wet evening.
It is said that cheese and fish don’t go together, but I’d say there are a couple of exceptions: fish pie, and this recipe. This dish is a cross between a kedgeree and a classic rarebit. It’s simple, full of flavour, and amazing for brunch or a light lunch.
You will need:
2 fillets Smoked haddock (or other smoked fish)
Cheese – lots! (I used parmesan and gruyère, but you could use a good cheddar)
It’s comfort food season, and earlier this week I used a load of autumnal veg and kitchen leftovers to make the ultimate cauliflower cheese for dinner at home. I posted a picture of it to our Instagram and it got quite the response… so here’s the full recipe for you to recreate it yourself.
Onion – 1
Garlic – 2 cloves
Celeriac – half
Cauliflower – half
Gammon (smoked) – 300g *optional
Turmeric – half teaspoon
Nutmeg – quarter teaspoon
Cloves – 2
Flour (plain) – 1 tablespoon
Cider Vinegar – glug
Chicken or vegetable stock – 300ml
Cheese – as much as you want!
Pre-heat your oven to 180 Celcius (160 fan or gas mark 4).
Break half a cauliflower into florets and par boil until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Roughly chop garlic and onion.
Cut gammon into chunks.
Heat a pan or big casserole and add a glug of oil.
Sweat off the onions and garlic with the gammon (if you’re adding this – you can omit it if you’re vegetarian).
Whilst that’s happening peel half a celeriac.
Add one tablespoon of plain flour to the pan.
Continue to sweat for another 2-3 minutes.
Add a glug of cider vinegar
Continue to sweat.
Whilst it’s doing that, grate the celeriac and add it to the pan.
Add 200-300ml of stock and cook off.
Add half a teaspoon of turmeric, a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg and 2 cloves.
Add the cauliflower florets.
Top with milk to cover (you can make it as dry or saucy as you like).
Add a liberal amount of grated cheese and stir in.
Put in casserole dish or oven proof pan.
Grate more cheese on top.
Bake for 10-15 mins at 180 (160 fan or gas mark 4).