IDEA 8: Make leftovers soup

Since I am cooking for both my parents (in their 70s) and my partner who has an auto-immune condition, like many people I am thinking a lot at the moment about how we can eat in ways that support our immune systems and boost our health in general. I've asked the brilliant Lynda Jones, medical herbalist and all round excellent human, for some advice and I'm so thrilled that she is writing a whole blog for me to share tomorrow - complete with a recipe for an immune-boosting natural infusion and loads of helpful tips.

In the meantime, soup is the best, you can make it out of just about anything and as long as you have good stock, it is pretty much guaranteed to be satisfyingly delicious. The only trick is not to over-cook it and boil all the goodness out of it, a good fresh soup can be incredibly nourishing and health-giving.

Now I know it might not be the top choice in this hot weather, but since the shops were closed over the Easter weekend, we rather depleted our fresh food stocks and I had a few odds and sods to use up, so I thought I'd knock up something with a bit of a mediterranean feel to suit the sunshine. I'm going to sketch out the recipe below - but everything is substitutable!

Lemon, Saffron and white bean soup (with bottom of the fridge leftovers)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped or grated)

3-4 celery stalks (finely chopped)

1 onion (finely chopped)

Big sprig rosemary

Glug olive oil

3 bay leaves

1 broccoli stalk (chopped into small cubes)

1 pear or apple (chopped into small cubes)

good pinch saffron strands

1 preserved lemon (or zest of 1 fresh lemon)

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 white cabbage, finely sliced

1 tin of white beans (flageolet or cannelini etc)

1 pint veg stock (I use Marigold vegan bouillon)

- Sautee the onion, celery and garlic until soft in a generous glug of olive oil with the bay leaves.

- Add the broccoli, saffron and the preserved lemon and sauté for a couple of minutes

- Add the lemon juice, white beans, pear/apple and stock and simmer for 5 mins

- Add the cabbage and simmer for a further 2 minutes and then serve with crusty bread