The joy of time spent with great friends stays with you. A week ago I was packing to take Jessica to visit one of her godmothers. Umpteen changes of clothes – check. Toys and books – check. A bottle of wine for mummy – check and check. Two hours and too many renditions of the Wheels on the Bus later we arrived in York for a weekend of pink balloons, toenail painting and laughter. Lots of laughter.
On Saturday, while Jonathan watched a washed out cricket match, we explored York: buying bagels for breakfast, chicken for dinner, and fruit we then ate sitting on the grass outside the Minster. Jessica and her godmother chased falling leaves and each other while I absorbed the peace of being amongst trees and flowers in a city centre in late summer.
We ladies lunched at Cafe Concerto which ticked all my boxes when it comes to food with Jessica: brilliant staff, a child friendly menu with a ‘toddler platter’, a box of toys to explore, and wine by the glass. In the evening a rather bedraggled Jonathan was outnumbered as Jessica’s godmother and I were joined by a local long-time pharmacist friend. First rate food plus great friends always equals a brilliant evening in my opinion.
Sunday after church Jessica’s godmother decided she wasn’t tuned in to children, as lunch ‘needed to be made from scratch’. I breathed deeply, nodded to Jonathan, and joined her in the kitchen. Where in my mind a miracle occurred. Soup and cheese scones in twenty minutes. I kid you not. She made the scones, I made the soup. When I tweeted about it later my friend Sean replied: is that a new personal best? I wonder if there are KERS or DRS type options for your kitchen? (Yes, we’re F1 fans).
Simple soup. Nothing beats it. And this is the most simple soup I’ve ever made. Tip two cans of butter beans into chicken stock, add some sun-dried tomato paste and pesto, simmer for a bit and blend. When the cheese scones were ready we lunched (without toys, toddler platters or wine) on a feast made by two old friends in twenty minutes.
Back home, a mug of warm soup was the perfect antidote to the autumn rain and temperatures that made an appearance. A quick blast in the microwave defrosted some chicken stock and a delve in the cupboard revealed a tin of butter beans. I experimented with making this soup without butter beans (very thin but flavoursome thanks to the pesto and sun-dried tomato paste) and then by blending all of the soup (surprisingly creamy). I can’t decide which I prefer.
- 250ml chicken stock
- ½ tin butter beans
- 1 tsp sun-dried tomato paste
- 1 tsp green pesto
- Heat your stock and butter beans together in a small pan
- Add the sun-dried tomato paste and pesto and simmer for 5 to 10 mins
- Using a hand blender, blend either all or some of the butter beans, depending on how you like your soup.
- Pour into a mug or small bowl.