Classical Potage

Recipes like this are almost as old as the hills, or at least as old as the Classical Age. In the oldest cookbooks (like Apicius) herbs and vegetables featured prominently, and almost everything was flavoured with honey and wine. And why not?

You will need:
a leek or two
garlic – according to how bad your cold is
broccoli
cauliflower
parsnips
salt, olive oil
half a cup of honey
half a cup of wine (white or red – whatever’s open)
optional: kale, artichokes, potatoes

1) Heat a large pan, then prepare the leek, by slicing in half lengthwise and rinsing around the axils, where the dirt gets in. Roughly slice, and fry in olive oil for a minute or two. Add the garlic, roughly chopped, or just squashed.

2) Top and tail the parsnips, chop and add. Turn the stove to low.

3) Chop up the broccoli and cauliflower any old way, and add.

4) Add the wine, stir, then add the honey and salt, and stir.

5) If you’re using the artichokes, bear in mind you’ll have to use your hands to eat the dish. Remove a layer or two of outer leaves and the lowest couple of centimetres off the stem, then quarter the whole thing and add.

6) Diced potatoes and/thinly sliced black kale can go in now.

7) Cook on very low for 10 minutes, and you are done.

This can be eaten like a soup, with fresh bread (or old bread turned into croutons), or as a side dish with cooked meats or smallgoods. A little grating of cheese wouldn’t go astray, and maybe some olives or pickle on the side – something sour to balance the sweet, salty and bitter.