What’s on your plate: May

Autumn is well and truly here in the kitchen. The crisp leaves of summer are replaced with the dark greens of cavolo nero and silver beet, summer berries and stone fruit have been ousted by apples, pears, kiwi fruit and feijoas. There are vibrant pumpkins, creamy parsnips, homely turnips and the first crisp Brussels sprouts. We’ve had roasted pumpkin twice already, the second time topped with salty feta and crispy pine nuts as suggested by Molly Baz in her book Cook This Book.

It is also getting to soup season – lentil, split pea, butternut squash. fish, chicken – the list of possibilities is endless. For my first soup of the season, I needed to use up some vegetables in the fridge, and decided to make the Italian soup, ribollita, using the Anna Jones recipe from The Guardian. I even had the cavolo nero I bought last week that she suggest, a tin of Italian beans, and wonders of wonders, a parmesan rind.

The base of the soup is a classic soffrito of onion, celery and carrot, fried until soft and slightly caramelised. You then add the parsley, garlic, a tin of tomatoes, one potato and a parmesan rind if you have it. Cook for around 15 minutes, then add the beans (the recipe said to add the liquid too, but I drained mine), cavolo nero and the stock and leave it to cook at a simmer for around 30 minutes.

You then lay slices of bread, drizzled with olive oil. to make a lid, and let sit for a bit before stirring and check the seasoning. The result is a lovely rich mix of vegetables, beans and the soft and gooey bread.

Verdict: excellent.

Make again? Yes – you could use any dark green leafy vegetable but cavolo nero looks lovely (as well as tasting good). The parmesan rind definitely made a difference, adding a creamy overtone to the soup. I like my soup thick, but you can always make it more ‘soupy’ as to your own preference.

This well be entered in the What’s on Your Plate blog challenge hosted by Canadian bloggers Widow Badass and Retirement Reflections. This goes live on the first Wednesday of each month and you can join in too with a food related post, just by adding yours to their linkup.

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis. If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com or lofgren@thistlesandkiwis.org


  1. Hi, Barbara – Thank you for being a regular contributor to What’s On Your Plate. I always look forward to your posts. I had never heard of Ribollita before. It definitely looks like my kind of soup. I look forward to checking it out. Thank you for this recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks great, are those cannellini beans (or similar) I have to look up cavolo nero..if I spelled that right. I make something similar with spinach and cannelli and fennel and love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The beans looked like small butter beans or large cannellini beans – the tin was in Italian so I am not 100% sure what they were! Cavolo nero is sometimes called ‘dyno kale’ in the US I believe? Not sure why though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was trying to read the tin as well. Hmm, white beans are always good. Oh, that kale is called Dinosaur Kale here. Looks like a snack for a TRex, I guess. I have seen it. Popular for making kale chips

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I like it too and have used it in winter containers with pansies and dianthus. I do appreciate the beauty of produce. I bought such a pretty dragonfruit it rotted on the counter while I admired it..Oddly, I like to eat collard and mustard greens but not the kale.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. So much deliciousness ! I eat soup all year round. Preferably with freshly baked bread as a side. I’m going to grow pumpkins this year, and I see a lot of pumpkin soup for us in the fall. It’s the first time I grow pumpkins in Sweden, and I am excited to do so. I’m going to try two different varieties, one that I grew with great success in California (the seeds are from those pumpkins,) and one new-to-me variety.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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