I’ve been doing this for a year now and so went to the market in the morning to celebrate. From the market I bought some chard (1,16€), a small yellow courgette, some green beans and two small heads of corn (~3,60€; I forgot to ask for a receipt). 1,10€ bought a crusty baguette from the boulangerie.

Chard is something that I don’t think I’ve knowingly had before, so I consulted the Madhur Jaffrey vegetarian bible and had a look around on the Interwebs to find some inspiration. In the end I chose the Madhur Jaffrey recipe as the basis for this as it used all the chard rather than just the leaves.

  • 300g Swiss chard
  • one 240g (drained) jar chick peas
  • four large cloves of garlic
  • One tin tomatoes
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric

The Italian recipe in the book calls for sage, which I don’t have, so I substituted a little cumin, turmeric and paprika to take it a slightly different direction. Ideally, I should’ve done this at the beginning as I was heating the oil, but it was something of an afterthought so happened half-way through.

Start by draining the chickpeas and simmering them gently in approximately 500ml of water. Meanwhile, trim the chard and cut up and around the stalk to separate the stalks from the leaves. Cut the stalks across into 5mm strips and the leaves into 25mm ribbons.

Chop the garlic finely and dice the tomatoes (or use a tin of pulp); I could have used fresh tomatoes but decided to keep those for salads.

In a wide pan, bring a “healthy” quantity of olive oil to temperature over a medium-high heat then add the garlic. Add the cumin, paprika and turmeric (or 4-5 sage finely-chopped fresh sage leaves in the original) and stir for about 20 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and stir for a minute, then add the chard stalks and stir until they are tender. Add the chard leaves and any seasoning then stir them until they wilt. Add the chickpeas with their cooking liquid and mix well.

Cook on medium heat uncovered for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Madhur says that “there should be a little thick juice left at the bottom of the pan.” Her recipe calls for 140g dried chickpeas with 600ml water, so I thought my adjusted quantities were fine, but I found mine a little watery. As I didn’t want to try and reduce the liquid, I made a well in the middle of the saucepan and poached an egg in the juice. I think I should’ve used half the quantity of water (250ml) for the chickpeas because I kept the liquid from the tomatoes.

The resulting chunky summer soup, garnished with freshly-chopped parsley and served with some crusty bread, could’ve enjoyed a hint of chilli. There is enough left over for another helping later – or lunch tomorrow with some couscous.

I have failed to maintain proper pot records for these last couple of months so have sort-of failed for the fiver-a-day goal (over the year) but am determined to try again.

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