We were in Spain recently, and went for dinner at the very lovely Villa Padierna hotel, near to where we were staying. They have a few restaurants but we like the Tuscan one, which has a lovely terrace overlooking the back of the hotel grounds down towards the coast.
As an amuse bouche, before our food arrived, we were brought a soup made from white garlic with a mango foam. Sopa de Ajo Blanco is popular in Spain, but I’ve never tasted it, so, unsure what to expect we tucked in. The soup was chilled, with a sweet taste. A traditional version of this soup uses almonds, so that probably accounts for an almost ‘paste’ type texture – and weirdly, it didn’t taste of garlic at all.
The mango adds a zesty, fruity element to the soup which is pleasant, but it really felt like this soup didn’t know whether to be a starter or a desert. Not unpleasant, but not something I would order for myself.
Words and pictures by @ladylavish
We decided to make a late summer minestrone, based losely on a Jamie Oliver recipe, but adapted to what we had in the fridge. It’s a lovely soup, fresh and light, and can be dressed in different ways. The ingredients we had made enough for about 6-8 portions.
- 1 large red onion
- 3 celery sticks
- 2 carrots
- Pancetta lardons or streaky bacon
- 1 large corguette
- Green (fine) beans
- Chicken stock (you can use veg stock)
- Lettuce leaves
First dice onions, carrot and celery and saute in olive oil with some garlic. In a separate pan, fry some pancetta lardons until crispy. Once the veg have softened, add the bacon and the diced corguette.
Top up the pan with a litre to a litre-and-a-half of chicken stock and add the green beans then leave to simmer until the veg is pretty much cooked. Add the peas near the end so they don’t over cook and just before you serve, drop in the lettuce leaves.
Serve into bowls and dress with the crispy bacon, black pepper and parmesan cheese. Gorgeous.