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Let Tradition Warm You Up

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Because it's nearly Christmas, what does that mean? Exactly, it's cold. I must stipulate that this post related to current weather in the Northern Hemisphere far away from the equator. Otherwise, I'll get a look from the other side of the sofa as he proof reads this post and says, "Ehh... if we were in New Zealand right now, it wouldn't be cold." I rest my case. This way, all my bases are covered.

Anyway, after that tangent, today seemed extremely cold. Surprisingly not foggy like the rest of the crazy cold days have been but unfortunately it hasn't been made bearable by snow. Hopefully with time. Thankfully we have a working boiler and we are blessed with double glazing. Really, we do count our blessings.

I am getting very excited about an upcoming trip to Tuscany and I keep thinking of all the traditional food we'll get to eat while we're there. It's just glorious. And this time it will be the dead of winter so we will have plenty of soup to eat. One soup that I absolutely LOVE is ribollita, which directly translated means re-boiled. This is because traditionally, a huge bach would be made at the beginning of the week and it would be reboiled each day for dinner. This is an example of traditional Tuscan food that stems from"peasant food", much like salsiccia fagioli (sausage and beans).

With ribollita, cavolo nero is used and it's so full of iron (pregnant ladies take note) and garlic which makes it so good for you. All you really need to do is season, add a stock cube and you're flying. Different people like it in different ways. You can make it so that it's like a broth with cavolo nero, beans and bread, or you can have mainly bread that's been made wet with the stock. I like it brothy and here's my recipe.


  • 3/4 bulb of strong garlic, cloves finely chopped

  • 200g cavolo nero, roughly chopped

  • 400g cannelini beans, rinsed & drained

  • 1 stick of stale baguette or 1/2 a loaf of stale crusty bread

  • 2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre of hot water

  • 2 tsp black pepper

  • 2 tbsp salt

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

In a large pot, fry off the garlic in the olive oil. Fry the garlic until it's a nice golden brown but DO NOT burn it. If it's black, it will taste bitter and horrible. Add the beans and give them a quick stir so that they're coated in that gorgeous garlicky oil.

Add the chopped cavolo nero to the pot and stir it to mix it in. Add the stock, salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes.

Add the bread and bring to a fairly good boil for 5 minutes with the lid on. You can serve it there and then but as the name suggests, it's much nicer the next day.

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