and now let’s hear it for the Greens …..


Through the good graces of the internet and television I have been able to quickly become intimate with kings, of all nations across the ages, and through this intimacy I can confirm that familiarity has bred contempt. Conversely, although I have seen and experienced at first hand the unpleasant side of its nature, I have nothing but admiration for the now and future cabbage. I am neither royalist nor republican but I am a human and as such I can live without kings or presidents but not without food and as there is very little in the governance of today’s world that is to be admired I am plighting my troth to the soil and the sod and the good things which it produces which in turn support our lives. Of all the topics suggested by the Walrus, when chatting to his lunch, none seemed as dull as “kings”. Shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages, why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings are all subjects conducive to a long chin wag with a glass of wine or two and perhaps several oysters but I’d pass on kings….unless it was a royal flush: I am fully aware of the possible fun to be had by replacing one vowel with another in the verb preceding the word “kings” and how apposite that would be when linked to the royal flush.


Today’s cabbage will be tomorrow’s soup and that soup will be rebollita, the recipe of which I was recently reminded whilst thumbing through my copy of Anna del Conté’s “The Classic Food of Northern Italy” for which I did the pictures some 20 years ago: although I see from Northern Italythe current paperback version on Amazon that my cover shot has been replaced with a lighter, brighter image than my original dark and moody picture that was then the zeitgeist. The basic ingredients for this soup, beans and cabbage, provide a link between Tuscany and the Vendée for me. Beans and pork were the mainstays of Vendéen peasants and the fields around the farms are full of cabbages during the winter months. Although our provincial supermarket did not offer the cavolo nero, which is the sine qua non of rebollita, ribollita_editit did offer a very good looking chou pomme, which, being irresistible in name and looks, I bought. I am including the whole of Anna del Conté’s recipe, which includes her careful notes about the preparation of this dish. It’s hard for me to imagine someone not making this rebollita after reading her words.,,,because I am, as you can see from the picture on the right..rebollita
You may have noticed that the recipe has come to abrupt halt which has happened because I failed to scan the final moments…impatience was my undoing. I shall write the final steps…as follows:

“Measure the bean liquid and add enough water to make it up to about 1.5l. Add to the pot and bring to the boil.Cook over the lowest heat for about 2 hours. Check seasoning and leave until the next day. The next day, mix in the whole beans. Heat the oven to 180C. Slice very finely enough onion to make a nice thin layer all over the surface of the soup. Put the pot in the oven and cook until the onion is tender: about 1 hour. Rub the bread with the garlic cloves, then roast under the grill. Put the bread into individual soup bowls and ladle the soup over it. Dribble the remaining olive oil over each bowl.”

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, Anna del Conte, Art photography, Cookery Writers, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, Italian food, Olive oil, Photographic Prints, Photography, photography course, Recipes, Ribollita, Soup, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vendee, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to and now let’s hear it for the Greens …..

  1. I want chicken curtains too 😀 And the bowl and the ceramic pot.

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I used to have one of those pots, when I lived in Spain. I wish I still had it. They are particularly good for slow cooked beans. I just had warm peasant and Pommery mustard sandwiches for lunch, though my peasant comes with feathers 😉

  3. That’s the moodiest, most attractive cabbage I’ve ever seen.

  4. Francesca says:

    I have often heard some cooks breathlessly pronounce ‘ribollita’ as if they have just mastered Italian and its mysteries. Little do they realise that this hearty simply means re-boiled.
    May I have another bowl of yesterday’s soup please.

  5. Conor Bofin says:

    Rosemary and I will have to share your curtains. Lovely soup. Lovely cabbage.

  6. Vicki says:

    Love those low light images.

  7. Eha says:

    Well, being both an avowed ‘Greenie’ AND a Monarchist, I do hope I may still be allowed to make the ribollita . . . had quite forgotten that delight!! [Have a copy of the latest bio about ‘that other one’ in the mail – all the book critics here have suddenly sat up in shock: a future King simply cannot plan to be ‘hands-on’ !!!!]

  8. As usual, Roger wins the award as the most poetic and imaginary cook

  9. What beautiful photos. I love that pot and the soup. Just lovely.

  10. Ah, food of the gods, and of my old Italian aunties. Thank you for the reminder, I have a cabbage burning a hole in my kitchen so I shall give it a right royal send off. I too feel the need for some chicken curtains….

  11. catterel says:

    Green as your cabbage with envy at those photos.

  12. platedujour says:

    Beautiful pictures Roger…:-)

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