Ministroni Soup

Monday, September 05, 2011

food painting for the vegetarian cookbook by Fiona Morgan

Chunky. Satisfying. Homely. Thrifty.


Food painting artwork

30 x 30cm acrylic on Crescent Museum RagMat board. This is museum quality board, 100% cotton, made to withstand time.

Abstract Expressionism. A very sixties style of painting. The typical working method is to stand before the canvas and start and let the ideas bubble up from the subconscious while painting to make themselves known. It's not unusual for the artist to only figure out what they painted well after the piece is finished.  This method has had a huge impact on many current artists. The paintings tend to be very abstract and are meant to invoke emotion in the viewer. That's my understanding anyway.

I went about trying abstract expressionism, holding the idea of ministrone soup in my mind while aiming for the particular style of layered large shapes. I was particularly taken by this image by Pamela Scott, available here. It was exactly what I wanted to achieve - a balance of large abstract colour shapes with a retro sensibility.

I have to admit that it was a hundred times harder than it looked. If you like the ministrone soup painting, snap it up, it's a true one off. I won't be working in this style again in a hurry.


The meatless meals recipe

This ministrone is the genuine article. Though I'm sure there are as many variations on ministrone as there are Italian cooks. This version was originally from the Italian mother of a friend from the distant past.  I'm sure I've put my own twist on it in the intervening years, but I honestly don't remember what was original and what adjustments I may have made. I've cooked this so many times over the years so it's sure to have evolved. My suspicion is that the lambrusca instead of any red wine is my personal twist.

1 cup cooked or 1/3 cup dried cannellini beans
1 cup fresh or 1/3 cup dried whole green peas
7 cups stock
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 stick celery, sliced
1 largish onion, chopped
8 tomatoes rough chopped or around 600g tomatoe puree
optional 1/2 cup of any leafy green roughly chopped
optional 1/2 chilli, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup uncooked macaroni
optional and highly recommended 1 cup sweetish red wine (something like lambrusca is fabulous)

Warning. You will need a big pot.
For dried beans and peas, soak them overnight in the stock and then simmer for 1-2 hours with the celery, carrot and onion until the beans and peas are soft.
For cooked beans and fresh peas, just simmer these together with the stock, celery, carrot and onion for 40 minutes.
Then add the tomato, leafy greens, basil, oregano and chilli. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add the macaroni (and frozen peas here if you are cheating) and cook until the pasta is tender.
Add the red wine and heat through.

Serve with big chunks of crusty bread.
Feeds at least 6.


More vegetarian cookbook goodies

Need help with cooking conversions? Download this handy dandy pdf of cooking conversion charts for every cooking measuring system I could find. It should make your life easier.

Where are the rest of the vegetarian dinner recipes? They're all in the Table of Contents.

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