Fireside Feasting: Embracing Winter's Warmth with the River Cafe Cookbook


On a brisk winter evening, with the fire ablaze, blankets invitingly spread, and your book eagerly in hand, there's just one thing amiss. A comforting bowl of soup, poised to wrap your insides in a cozy embrace. If you're seeking the ideal recipe, your destination is clear—the River Cafe cookbook holds the answer. This weekend, we immersed ourselves in the culinary wonders of the River Cafe Cookbook, exploring its rich tapestry of flavours and traditions. Venturing into the heart of gastronomy, we tried our hands at the Broad Bean Soup—a delightful journey into the harmonious blend of ingredients that define winter warmth. The velvety texture and heartwarming essence of the Broad Bean Soup makes it the perfect companion to your fireside retreat, filling both your home and your soul with the comforting embrace that defines the essence of winter.

The Broad Bean Soup recipe below is our adaptation inspired by the original from the River Cafe Cookbook.

Broad Bean Soup


300g Broad Beans (shelled)
200g Peas (shelled)
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
400g Waxy Potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
300ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1/4 Sourdough Loaf
Salt and Pepper to taste


Begin by shelling the broad beans and peas. Peel and chop the garlic cloves, and cut the waxy potatoes into 2cm cubes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the chopped garlic and sauté until soft.

Stir in the cubed potatoes, season with salt and pepper, then add the broad beans, peas, and chicken or vegetable stock. Cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Remove half of the soup from the pan and transfer it to a food processor. Pulse it roughly and then return it to the pan with the rest of the soup. Add the fresh basil leaves. The soup should now have a thick consistency.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Cut the sourdough loaf into thick slices, remove the crusts, and tear it into pieces. Drizzle the bread pieces with olive oil, season lightly with salt, and bake until they are lightly toasted.

Place the toasted bread pieces in serving bowls. Ladle the thickened soup over the bread in each bowl. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil if desired and garnish with some fresh basil leaves before serving.
The ensemble of ingredients in Broad Bean Soup is a chorus of wellness, especially tailored for the winter months. Broad beans and peas, with their earthy freshness, bring a wealth of vitamins and fiber to the bowl, promoting digestive health and providing a burst of energy. Garlic, a flavourful addition, not only elevates the taste but also boasts immune-boosting properties, perfect for fortifying the body during colder seasons. The addition of potatoes contribute complex carbohydrates, offering a steady source of energy, while basil leaves infuse the concoction with antioxidants. Paired with a quarter of a sourdough loaf, this wholesome meal in a bowl transforms into a delightful journey, embracing both flavor and well-being with every spoonful.

Perched along the banks of the Thames in London, the River Cafe emerges as a culinary sanctuary where flavours unfurl like chapters in a gastronomic novel. Established in 1987 by the visionary duo Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, this iconic restaurant stands as a testament to their culinary mastery and unwavering commitment to simplicity and excellence. The River Cafe Cookbook, is a seamless extension of their culinary philosophy, presenting recipes that elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary. Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, revered pioneers in the culinary realm, breathed a spirit into the River Cafe that echoes across continents, leaving an indelible mark on the global culinary landscape.

As we delved into this culinary adventure, we couldn't help but share the experience with you. For those looking to embark on their own journey into the world of River Cafe recipes, you can explore the cookbook and find this delightful Broad Bean Soup recipe on our website, a homage to the brilliance of Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. Let the River Cafe Cookbook be your guide to fireside feasting, turning winter evenings into a celebration of flavours and traditions. To echo Virginia Woolf's sentiment, "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." In these treasured moments, we haven't just dined; we've indulged in a culinary narrative, savouring a nourishing legacy that lingers, not just on the palate but in the heart.

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