Lately, the weekends have seen Mr and I either driving around the countryside looking at empty blocks of land (we’re thinking of moving), or doing election stuff for the Greens. French week saw one weekend full of the former, and me preparing a picnic lunch for a cold, wet day.
In winter I adore having soup for lunch. It feels like a luxury to stay indoors and eat warming, filling food, without the heft that some comfort foods have. One of my favourite soups is Pistou.
Pistou is French soup made with spring vegetables (zucchini, peas, beans, shallots, carrots), tomatoes and small pasta shapes, and served with pesto, hence the name. I won’t be posting a recipe, as it has come from a book on my shelf, The Mediterranen Cookbook by Joanne Farrow and Jacqueline Clarke. If you do try it, my only suggestion is that you keep the vegetable pieces very small, each one about the size of a pea. Its prettier that way, and easier to eat. Also, its pretty good with the smoked or mature cheddar Sheese, if you have some on hand.
I made the soup up early in the morning, and blended some basil, cashews, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice for the pesto. The soup went in a thermos, and I packed some bread, olives, avocado, hommus (not very French, but whatever), the pesto, and two pieces of chocolate rhubarb cake that I made that week (also not French).
We cracked it open in the car (it was too wet to get out) in Bendigo that afternoon. It was yum! The only minor issue was that the pasta had soaked up the liquid during the trip, making the soup very difficult to get out of the thermos.
It felt very sumptuous to have all that variety during a car trip, however next time I won’t be putting the pasta in the soup – it’s better without it anyway.