Hubby and I just came back from a visit to London and Paris a couple of weeks ago. Whilst on the visit we went for lunch at The River Cafe in Hammersmith, London.

The River Cafe, London

Since we have returned I have been meaning to reproduce the minestrone soup that hubby ordered, which was by far the most memorable of all the dishes we ate (the Capri Torte and Chocolate Nemesis Cake came a close second and were actually the reason we went to the River Cafe in the first place – long story – I’m sure I’ll elaborate at some stage!). I found a recipe for the soup on the BBC Good Food website and picked a cold day (by San Francisco standards that is!) to make it. The recipe was tagged as ‘Easy’ and I suppose it was, but all the prep and the 3-stage cooking meant that it was a bit time-consuming. This is not one of those soup recipes which involve leaving the soup on the stove unattended for any length of time.

I used red chard instead of ‘Swiss Chard’ and Kale instead of ‘cavolo nero’ – I think they might be pretty much the same thing. Anyway, so one here seems to have heard of ‘cavolo nero’. The recipe called for specific measurements for each ingredient – I didn’t worry too much about this. I used whole bunches of Chard and Kale (which were big, but not too heavy) and coarsely chopped baby carrots (which is what I had in my fridge).

We served the soup in the way it was served to us, poured onto a slice of toast or bruschetta (we used Acme Bread’s delicious Pain au Levain for our bruschetta) with lots of freshly grated Parmesan on top. Hubby kept adding more and more Parmesan.

Here is hubby’s photo of the finished dish – please excuse the messiness – the thing took SO LONG to prepare and we were absolutely starving and desperate to eat! Our soup was quite pink due to the red chard. If you use green chard it will definitely be greener (as referred to in the original recipe). Some of the Parmesan broke off into lumps as you can see, which is not very pretty, but it is quite delicious to eat!

On the whole the soup was really lovely – a great main-course soup. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it again though – it’s too time-consuming!

I froze what was left. Will let you know how it tasted after freezing!

The River Cafe Minestrone Soup - my home-made version!

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