Minestrone Photo: Natalie Boog

There can be few finer places to enjoy a homecooked meal than the dining room of our homecook hero, Anne Fraser's Paddington home.


125g dried haricot beans

Olive oil

2 onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves

2 rashers of bacon, chopped roughly

Handful of fresh herbs such as marjoram, thyme and basil

4 tomatoes, chopped (or 15g tomato puree)

Small glass red wine

1.8 litres hot water

2 carrots, chopped

1 small turnip, chopped

2 small potatoes, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1/2 small cabbage, cut in strips

55g broken-up macaroni, spaghetti or any small pasta

Salt and pepper

30g parmesan, plus extra for the table


Soak the beans in cold water overnight, then drain. Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic and bacon then add herbs. Add the tomatoes or puree and red wine and simmer for 2 minutes before adding the beans.

Cover with hot water and cook for 2 hours.

Add carrots to the stock and about 15 minutes later add the turnip and potatoes. Ten minutes before serving, add celery, cabbage and pasta.

To serve

Check the soup is properly seasoned, stir in grated parmesan and serve extra parmesan separately.