This post is sponsored by BRITA
When building our house a few years ago, I had only two stipulations: 1. I wanted a big deep bath I could fill with bubbles to stretch out and relax in (clearly this was before we had children) and 2. I would be in charge of designing the kitchen. There were many items on my wish list, a long island bench, electric cooktop, deep drawers for storage, pyrolytic oven and a filtered water tap. Alas, I couldn’t have it all and when our budget started to stretch, the oven and tap were two of the first items to go – cue a very unimpressed self appointed Chief Kitchen Designer.
So, you can then imagine my excitement when three years later the opportunity to have a BRITA 3 Way Filter Tap installed came along! I wasn’t the only one excited when the plumber knocked on our door early one morning. Our toddler was more than thrilled to be able to watch “the man with his tools” set to work installing our new appliance.
The tap itself is very stylish and is similar to our old one (a big tick to me, clearly I’m a styling guru!), with the obvious difference being that we now have instant filtered water. I’m very conscious of making sure that the boys and I drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated and it’s been a nice surprise to find ourselves enjoying and drinking more water since having our BRITA tap installed.
The filtered water has a refreshing clean taste which I really enjoy, and it’s now an everyday ingredient in our house, used in everything from my morning coffee to cooking pasta for my carb mad boys.
There is no doubt you can taste the quality in the filtered water and while my husband agreed it tasted better, he was dubious if it would make a difference when used as an ingredient in my cooking. To prove him wrong (which I love to do!), I decided to conduct a little experiment to demonstrate the fresher and enhanced taste that the filtered water would bring to a meal.
To do this, I made two versions of Minestrone Soup with Beans and Greens, created by MasterChef’s Gary Meighan. One batch I made with tap water, the other with filtered water.
Sitting down to my two bowls of soup for lunch, I could easily tell which soup had filtered water as an ingredient. The flavours of the garlic, thyme and parmesan were stronger and combined with the full and fresh flavours of the vegetables, the soup tasted delicious. Later that night, my husband sat down for a blind taste test. He took his job very seriously, trying each bowl several times before finally deciding the soup made with filtered water tasted better. He couldn’t explain why it was better – “it just is” was his statement, clearly we need to work on his food critique skills.
The results of our very scientific experiment make sense and I was also a little chuffed to be proven right! We both agree with Gary Meighan’s comments that using a quality ingredient such as filtered water in your cooking really enhances the flavour of your food.
When cooking for our family, I look for and use the freshest ingredients that I can find, so why wouldn’t I do the same when it comes to water? You can read more about Gary’s thoughts on cooking with filtered water here and you can also find more great recipes here.
To make Gary’s Minestrone with Greens and Beans you will need:
1 whole head garlic
4 thin slices pancetta
1 sour dough baguette
70 ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra to drizzle
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tsp sea salt flakes
fresh cracked black pepper
150g piece flat smoked pancetta chopped
2 anchovy fillets
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
1 litre (4 cups) filtered water
80g parmesan rind, chopped
1⁄2 bunch green kale, washed, stalks removed
200g can cannellini beans
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 handful broad beans, skins removed
80g (1⁄2 cup) frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, sliced
half bunch basil
60g grated parmesan to serve
Preheat your oven to 200/180°C fan forced.
Place the head of garlic in the middle of a square of foil and scrunch up to enclose completely. Place on the oven rack and bake for 45 minutes or until it is soft. Remove and set aside to cool.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Add pancetta slices and bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cut four 1.5cm-thick slices of baguette on a 45° angle. Brush each slice with a little of the olive oil, then place them on the warm baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and cool.
Place a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the onion, finely chopped garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add diced pancetta and stir in the anchovies until dissolved. Add the fennel and celery and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the bay leaf. Pour in the filtered water.
Bring the soup to the boil. Add the parmesan rind and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale, cannellini beans, zucchini, broad beans, peas and asparagus. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add a good drizzle of olive oil and basil. Bay leaf can be removed before serving.
Squeeze the baked garlic from the skin, spread thickly on the toasted baguette and top each with a slice of crisp pancetta. Serve soup topped with grated parmesan.
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT