What better lunch on a cold Autumn day than a nutritious minestrone? I like to make a big pot of soup on the weekend so we can have soups for lunch throughout the week. A hot bowl of soup warms your bones when the weather is bleak outside.

This is my basic minestrone recipe, but you might want to add macaroni or vermicelli to make it more authentic.

serves 6-8

::1 litre beef stock
::1 Tbsp oil
::3 onions, diced
::3 rashers of bacon, diced
::2 stalks celery, sliced
::3 carrots, diced
::2 cups cabbage, sliced thinly
::1 400g tin diced tomatoes (or use your own, peeled and diced – 2 cups)
::1 tin lentils (or 1 cup dry lentils, soaked overnight)
::1 tin cannellini beans (or 1 cup dry beans, soaked overnight)

::sautée bacon and onion in 1 Tbsp oil until onion is tender and bacon has browned slightly
::add beef stock and remaining ingredients
::bring to the boil
::leave to simmer on the stove for several hours.
::serve with Parmesan and cracked pepper.