Hello from London! Today I’m sitting in a cosy kitchen in London, the sky as you can easily imagine is leaden gray and it is also fairly cold. What am I doing here? let’s step back a few months…
As soon as I knew that my contract wouldn’t have been renewed I bought a ticket (a return ticket, don’t worry Mum) to London, to turn at least one of my many projects into reality: I wanted to work on my blog for a while from here with my friend Sarka, because every time we meet with her and the other friends from the Foodblogger Connect network interesting ideas are developed and I feel recharged, filled with life blood.
The plan is simple: I will keep on living the usual life that I would have had at home, but from a different point of view for two weeks, plus there will be some interesting meetings for my future work, fun, friends and so much food!
So here I am, trying to look at things from the outside, because thinking out of the box helps to streamline the projects, put them in order but even sometime make them more risky, or hopefully to see tiny back lanes you wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
When English people want to relax and find inspiration, they come to Tuscany, they visit the Chiantishire and live a gratifying experience under the Tuscan Sun, getting willingly lost in our rolling hills. On the contrary, I bought a ticket to spend some time under the British rain, to immerse myself into the buzzing city life of London, but also in the peaceful English countryside… My focus remains the same, my country, but sometimes it is useful to abstract yourself and look at your life with different eyes, or simply see what’s out of your kitchen garden, to come back home crammed with popping energy.
Thus, being focused on genuine country cooking dishes, I cannot offer you nothing better than this hearty and cosy winter soup, made with a fruity extra virgin olive oil from Umbria and roveja. The Roveja wild pea was grown for centuries on high altitude terrain in the Sibillini mountains in Umbria where it was part of the staple diet of the local population. It almost disappeared from tables completely until it was recovered by a Slow Food Presidium. Roveja is a small wild pea with a dark brown, reddish or dark green colour (you can find more info here).
Add a sprig of thyme for a touch of pungent green and a generous handful of sourdough bread croutons for a crispy crunchiness.
- 300 g of roveja (you can substitute roveja with dried peas or lentils, check the cooking time, though)
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- ½ red onion
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
- 200 g of organic hulled spelt
- a few slices of homemade or sourdough bread
- freshly ground black pepper
- The night before, soak the roveja in cold water.
- The next day, well in advance for lunch or dinner, chop finely the red onion, the carrot and the celery: this is what we call battuto and is the basis of many a preparation.
- Pour a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a thick-bottomed saucepan or cast iron pot, then add the battuto and sauté for a few minutes until it softens.
- Now pour in the well drained roveja, the sprig of thyme and the bay leaf, two tablespoons of tomato sauce and a pinch of salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix and cook for a few minutes, then add the hulled barley, rinsed under running water, and cover with hot water, about 600 ml.
- Cook covered over low heat for about an hour, checking frequently. If it gets too thick, add some hot water. One hour is enough to fully cook the hulled spelt and let the roveja al dente. If you prefer a more tender and cooked through roveja, add the spelt after half an hour and cook for another hour until the roveja reaches the consistency you prefer.
- When the soup is almost ready, slice and dice the sourdough bread and sauté with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprig of thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper until golden brown and crispy.
- Serve the spelt and roveja soup with a generous handful of tasty croutons and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.