It's officially autumn in Melbourne. My tootsies are getting colder and colder every day. I'm adapting to the weather: the ugg boots are out of storage, black stockings have been dusted off and my beanie is due for an appearance any day now. But the thing that makes the weather so distinctly Melbourne is the forecast this week: a 4 day stretch above 20ºC.
So it's not cold enough to turn on the heater (Matt assures me), but it's not hot enough for cocktails in the sun (but fear not: there's always indoors!). It's light pinot weather - that in between stage where you can't handle a bold red but a white is too fresh for when the mercury drops after sundown. Oh, who am I kidding? If it's open and not vinegar, I'll drink it.
Quite often these days, Matty and I walk through the door at around 7.30pm with ferocious appetites. We've both riden our bikes home after a long day and whipping up a three course meal is, surprisingly, the last thing on our minds. When we stumbled in Thursday and found this soup in the fridge, it was like we'd heated up heaven in a tupperware container. Though in heaven, I imagine tomatoes don't leave that strange orange scum on the inside of you containers. Sexy.
This soup is hearty: sausages, sage, tomatoes and stock. The beans were too beautiful to pass up, so I added them to the mix. Have you ever seen a legume that looks more like lollies in your whole life? Sage made an appearance because it adds a gorgeous herby twang to soups. I promise I won't judge if you add a butter crusty bread roll on the side. I may have done the same myself. And then we have fennel.
Ahhh fennel. Like Delta Goodrem, people either love you or hate you. Bad analogy, because I actually really like fennel (sorry Delta. You're as gorgeous and talented as all get-out and I'd like to say I'm not the jealous, spiteful type but, well...). This soup is a double whammy of fennel love: pork and fennel sausages and sauteed fresh fennel. Hubba hubba. The aniseed taste dies down on heating, so don't be afraid to give this soup a whirl.
Soups up in the Bennetto household. It might be 24ºC outside and a little sweat may form on your brow while enjoying this, but enjoy it you will. I promise.
2 fennel and pork sausages
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small fennel bulb
1/2 brown onion
2 garlic cloves
10 leaves of sage
2 cups fresh borlotti beans (or one can, drained)
2 small cans tinned tomatoes
1 litre chicken stock
Slice the fennel bulb in half lengthways. Slice the fennel. Peel and dice the onion and chop the garlic finely. Julienne the sage finely. Pod the borlotti beans.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Remove the sausage from the skins and add in small pieces to the saucepan. Once browned, add the onion and fennel. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sage and cook for a further minute. Add the beans, tomatoes and stock and cook for 30 minutes. Top up with water if the soup becomes too thick. Season to taste.
Enjoy with some crusty bread.