Tired from the day up the mountain, thought you would give the cable car a miss and walk back to your Cape Town Backpackers extraordinaire Ashanti? Or perhaps swimming with those sharks gave you a big hunger? Perhaps you need a little stomach lining before you hook into that Cap Classique from your wine tour of Franshoek?

One of the problems of traveling is that you frequently end up eating poorly. This can health ramifications. Just ask my lungs after their first European travels, double pneumonia in part I think due to fact I just was not getting my vegies. Another reason was of course the kid from tropical Australia had never realised that rain sometimes can be really wet when it’s a constant drizzle and no evaporation happening! One of the big inhibitors to eating properly is the fact that you are on a budget, you are on the go constantly and you are not wanting to waste money by buying stuff that you won’t eat.

The trick is to forget about the fact you may not eat whatever it is you cook. Cook something cheap and nutritious …. Share it…breaking bread with strangers has been a time honoured way of making friends especially with Cape Town Backpackers.

Minestrone is cheap, easy to do a batch to share and delicious.

1. Cut up onion and garlic. Put in pot with dab butter. Stir to translucent.
2. If you are rich .. bacon or ham stir in with the onion
3. Beans either tinned or a bag dried… Italian beans, split peas, lentils etc.. (if they are dried and you have not soaked them – separate pot with stock or bone boil for 1 hour or till tender rapidly.)
4. Add chopped carrot and celery, even potato or other cheap root vegetables.
5. Do what’s seasonal too… cabbage, zucchini, leeks etc .. if it’s cheap and you think it will work bung it in.
6. Stir thorough with some olive oil.
7. Get a bacon bone whack it in if vegetarian just use vegetable stock. Bay leaf it.
8. I belong to the school of bung in herbs. Parsley, Bay leaf. Basil I tend to use for a pesto dollop when serving but you can put it in here.
9. Bung in water, and or stock Simmer for about 14 minutes.
10. Add a big tin of tomatoes
11. Simmer for 45 minutes
12. Add in pasta and or rice if you like for the last 20 minutes or so.

Dash of pesto/parmesan on top to serve with drizzle of olive oil.

Now eat.

Buon Appetito Cape Town Backpackers

Contributor: Allison Finley-Bissett