So I hate winter. You know that already. When pressed to admit it isn’t all bad—Come on, there must be something you like about winter—my stock response is a list of exactly two things. The first is football, more on that later. The second is soup.

Thick stew-like soups with doughy dumplings plonked in towards the end; steaming stocky, noodly Vietnamese or Japanese soups; steadfast favourites like roast pumpkin or potato and leek; the possibilities and pleasures are endless. When I got in tonight, damp from top to sodden toes and chilled through, soup was clearly in order.

Inspired by some basil we had hanging around, I fashioned up what I’m calling green minestrone. Now, I don’t know exactly what the rules are for calling something a minestrone, but this contains vegetables, pasta and beans so in my mind it qualifies. Basically I wanted to make a soup that would welcome a whole lot of fresh herbs chucked in at the end.

Into the pot, in order, went: leek, garlic and celery, potatoes; about six cups of vegetarian ‘chicken-style’ stock (don’t tell Michael Pollan), zucchini, the chopped stalks from a bunch of broccolini, a bay leaf; a handful of macaroni; some vermicelli, cannelini beans and the broccolini florets; shredded baby spinach and rainbow chard. Finally, a squeeze of lemon and heaps of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil. Here’s a terrible photo of what was a rather good soup: