About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, May 15, 2006
Repeat Performance
On Saturday our daughter M hosted her friend A from school for a few hours. A had missed out on M's birthday party due to prior commitments and so we invited her over for a few hours. I made the flourless chocolate cake from M's party and the girls asked to decorate it. We still had tubes of different coloured icing from her previous cake, so what the heck and the two girls went at it. After five minutes of delighted squeals, plus a handful of fairy sprinkles, there was a cake to make Jackson Pollock or our very own Pro Hart proud. And you know, in a naive sort of way the cake really looked good.

We sang Happy Birthday all over again and we all had a big piece of cake. A really liked the cake and asked if she could take a leftover piece home. "Sure", we said knowing that she has five other brothers and sisters. Good luck there! Kids sure can have funny ways about them, when A's dad dropped her off, I told him we were having hotdogs for lunch and asked if there were any foods that she couldn't eat. He replied that A didn't like sausages but she would eat a hotdog. Hmmm. What I discovered was that A in fact would not eat a hotdog, she felt the roll was too onerous, but could she have it in some bread instead? Sure thing, back to the kitchen, popped the frankfurter into a slice of whole grain bread and back to the table. A turned the bread over and informed me that she didn't like the seeds and started to pick them all out of her slice of bread, after prising a few loose, A gave up after she 'remembered' that she didn't like sausages after all!

On the Friday I decided to make a big pot of chicken stock, for no other reason than if you cook it, they will come. The chicken pieces consisting of two frames, a half kilo (1 lb) of necks and four large chicken wings cost me $3. Well they (the ideas) didn't come, so I asked my wife D if she wanted to make something with it. She wasn't falling for that one, so the stock was mine. What to do? If you have leftover Parmesan crusts in the fridge, how do you use them up? Leftover celery from the stock making, where's that going? Some really old bok choy lurking in the back of the fridge? Minestrone soup of course. No matter that there were no green beans or zucchinies or that bok choy is Asian not Mediterranean, minestrone is primarily a vegetable soup and so long as you have a couple of primary flavours right, the rest will take care of itself.


2 large onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
150 ml (5 0z) olive oil
2 large white (starchy) potatoes, diced
2 bok choy, diced
3 l (6.5 p) chicken stock
parmesan crust
1 400 g (14 oz) tin canellini beans
1 400 g (14 oz) tin diced tomato
3/4 cup small pasta shapes
salt & pepper

In a large saucepan, saute the onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil until bits of gold start to form. Add the potatoes and bok choy and saute 2 minutes longer. Add chicken stock, parmesan crust, canellini beans and tomatoes and cook for about 40 minutes. Season and add pasta and cook until pasta is cooked, stirring all the time. Serve. It also better reheated the next day. Some recipes will have you cook the soup for hours to get the vegetables to merge together, but I like to differentiate between them.
  posted at 8:14 am

At 1:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our cheese crusts always go in the minestrone. They come up a treat.

At 10:33 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi kitchen hand, the flavour seems more subtle from the crusts than an addition of parmesan to the soup.


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