Tony’s Soup Of Blessing

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Tony's Soup Of Blessing

Tony's Soup Of Blessing

This is a guest post by Divina from Sense & Serendipity. Divina is from the Philippines. She is a professional cook, holistic nutritionist, amateur photographer, expectant traveler, aspiring food/nutrition writer, culinary/nutrition instructor and cookbook author (and many others). She shares a lot of delicious, healthy recipes on her blog where she includes the health benefits.

It has been a great blessing to know Divina. She is a very sweet, kind and helpful person, just like her brother Anthony, as I read her description below. When I invited her last month to do a guest post on soup for my blog, she agreed without any hesitation. I am really thankful to her for that. She has been a tremendous support to me ever since she came across my blog which I started in June this year. She has been leaving comments…..EVERYDAY…… without fail. I really appreciate her for such precious support.

We dream that one day we will meet each other to enjoy each other’s food rather than drooling over the photos.  We believe in dreams and dreams do come true.

I want to pass Divina this lovely award. She really deserves it.

The following is what Divina shared…..a very beautiful story on top of the recipe.

I’ve been following Keep Learning Keep Smiling for a few months now and what attracted me to Mary’s site is that she has easy and wholesome dishes every single day. And don’t forget the desserts. Her blog is not just about recipes but it also concerns the significance of cooking a home cooked meal and sharing it with the people you love. When Mary invited me to share a soup recipe on her blog, I decided to write about the soup that my brother specifically asked me to cook for him.

Tony’s Soup Of Blessing

A few days before the wedding, Anthony asked me to make him a soup with a generous amount of bacon. I gave him an strange look and continued that he wants some celery and chickpeas in there too. He even named the soup – A Rich Man’s Soup – because he could eat legumes without suffering gout the following day. Don’t worry; chickpeas are very safe for gout sufferers. He didn’t change his mind about the generous amount of bacon but after brainstorming of the soup title, we agreed we’ll give this soup a better name - Tony’s Soup of Blessing.

Tony's Wedding

Tony's Wedding

My brother is a simple person but his simplicity is beyond measure. Once you’ve peeled the layers of his personality, you’ll get to know him better with gusto and passion. You’ll realize that once you get to know him, he has ten sentences to give you per every question you ask. You better take advantage of it because sometimes he’s just quiet. And everyone in the family knows that his favorite color is green. You’ll also appreciate what a wonderful and self-sufficing person he is of what he has shown throughout these years.

Celery leaves

Celery leaves

This soup may be simple but it’s one of the soups that you’ll never get tire of. It has generous amount of celery and chickpeas. I think celery is underrated but they add a wonderful flavor to almost anything. But most of the time, they are only used as a flavoring or as a background to a certain dish. For this soup, I want celery to be on the limelight along with the chickpeas. And what to you do with celery leaves? I think they end up being in the garbage. You can juice them along with other vegetables or make a celery cream soup but a celery pesto wouldn’t hurt as well.

I wrote a speech for my brother with the help of my two sisters and here’s what’s it’s written.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My family and I would like to say a few wonderful things about our brother Anthony.

Did you know that name Anthony means flourishing in Greek and praiseworthy in Latin? Well, our brother deserves both meanings of his name. He is a one of a kind, extraordinary brother who thinks of his family first before any body else. He has almost the same qualities as our late father both of whom is patient, generous, thoughtful, understanding, and intelligent and has self control, moreover they have the ability to cook the best dishes; they love trying different food and they love adventure.

But Anthony is also a unique individual who has so much to give to this world. He has given so much time and love to his brothers and sisters and most especially to our mother. He turned down a lot of job offers outside the family business because of his love for his parents. Although Anthony will give you 10 sentences for a single question, he is more of a doer than a talker when showing his love for someone. Words are important in expressing your love to another human being but his actions definitely speak louder than words. He is dependable, funny, trustworthy and an encourager. He’s a homebody, a music and nature lover and a follower of Christ.

You are truly a blessing not only to our family but to others as well. With this, God has blessed you a new life together with your wife Christine, a long time dream that has finally come true. May both of you tremendously experience God’s favor in this unpredictable and chaotic world. We pray that in this new chapter in your life, God will open great opportunities for you and grant you boldness to carry out His purpose. We are overwhelmed with gladness as you embark on a new journey.

Chickpea and Celery Soup

Makes 5-6 servings

1 onion
5 celery stalks (please see note)
2 garlic cloves
4 oz nitrate-free bacon (about 100 grams)
1 can 14-oz diced tomatoes (400gram)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups cooked chickpeas
4-5 cups chicken stock
1 dried bay leaf
unrefined sea salt

Celery pesto:

1 cup packed celery leaves
1 large garlic clove
¼ cup olive oil
unrefined sea salt



To prepare your mise en place, peel and chop the onion, mince the garlic, dice the celery, and cut the bacon into lardons.

Mashed tomatoes

Mashed tomatoes

For the tomatoes, strain them through a strainer over a bowl and allow the liquid to drain. Remove the skin from the diced tomatoes if any and mash it with a spoon. Combine the tomato liquid and mashed tomatoes in a bowl.

To cook the soup, heat a large heavy bottomed pot over low to medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onions and bacon followed by the salt. Sweat the onions until soft and the bacon is lightly brown for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Cooking the soup

Cooking the soup

Add the celery and season with a little more salt. Cook for another 3 minutes to release their juice. Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, 4 cups chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Celery pesto

Celery pesto

To prepare the pesto, wash the celery leaves with cold water, then drain and spun dry. Peel the garlic and process through a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the celery leaves and process until they turn into a puree but still quite chunky. Transfer to a bowl; add the olive oil and season with salt.

Just before serving, remove the bay leaf and season the soup with salt to taste. You can add more stock if desired. Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls and serve with a dollop of celery pesto.


Another option is to use 2 cups of uncooked soaked chickpeas. Follow the same procedure but cook the chickpeas with more stock for about 1 to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Our celery stalks are smaller compared to other countries. I used about 3 cups of diced celery.

Draining and mashing the tomatoes is an option but I like the texture better.

My thoughts:
I just wonder how many people take so much time and loving thought for a brother or sister, whether in good times or less favourable times. Divina’s love for her brother is really admirable….it’s an inspiration. I hope that this is a reminder to each one of us to spend more time and love for our families. They are the ones closest to us and deserve the best from us. Have we taken them for granted?

Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

Please visit Divina’s blog, make friend with her and give her all your support.

Divina, thanks very much once again for such a wonderful post that you have written for my blog and also for your lovely friendship.

Quote of the day……

”Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”

Oscar Wilde

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Trissa  on December 1st, 2009

Beautiful post Mary - it is typical Divina! Really well written, fantastic photos! I can’t believe she actually cooked with Bacon! haha.

Shirley  on December 1st, 2009

Divina has a wonderful way of tying up her posts. Very good writing style! Yes as you said Mary, rare to see a good sibling relationship nowadays. May the Lord bless this family with His Love and Peace!

kristy  on December 1st, 2009

Such a lovely guest post from Divina! His brother is such a handsome guy..hehe…. His bride definitely a lucky girl. I’ll go over to pay Divina a visit. Cheers. And happy holiday to you & your family!

penny aka jeroxie  on December 1st, 2009

Oh! Very sweet and touching post from both of you. Really good job.

Tasty Trix  on December 1st, 2009

What a wonderful guest post! Divina, you have to be the world’s best sister. I don’t have any siblings, but if I did I hope they would be as sweet as you. Also - celery pesto is genius!!!

rebecca  on December 1st, 2009

oh what a delightful guest post and how food and love and family all go and in hand love it

Mary  on December 1st, 2009

@Trissa - Thanks for comment. I have to agree with you….can’t believe that Divina cooked with bacon!

@Shirley - Totally agree with you the way Divina writes. She always writes very well….well-thought and well-phrased.

@Kristy - Oh…did you see the beautiful bridesmaid? It’s Divina! You really should go and visit here….so near your place.

@Penny - Thanks for lovely comment. Must really thnak Divina for it.

@Tasty Trix - Thanks for your lovely comment.

@Rebecca - Thanks for your lovely comment.

El  on December 1st, 2009

Lovely guest post and the soup turned out great too.

Shelly  on December 1st, 2009

This is such a great post! I’m so glad I found both of your blogs. You are both fantastic chefs and a great inspiration!

Anna  on December 1st, 2009

I feel so lucky that I found you two in the web, its always a pleasure to see what you two are up to. Without say the delicious recipes.

Sook  on December 1st, 2009

Love the recipe! Thank you for sharing! And Congratulations to Tony on his wedding!

Mary  on December 1st, 2009

@El - Thanks for comment. I’m sure the soup is very delicious. I love all the ingredients though I may omit the bacon.

@Shelly - Thanks for your lovely compliment. I love your blog too.

@Anna - I hope we are known to be good and not naughty…haha.

@Sook - Hope you try out soon. I’m sure it is very delicious.

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie  on December 1st, 2009

I do love all the bacon in this soup! Awesome!

Mary  on December 1st, 2009

@Natasha - I am not very much into bacon. I think we should share a big bowl….you can have all the bacon while I have all the rest….LOL

Drick  on December 1st, 2009

Mary, like Tony is to Divina and family, you are to yours and to all of us…it is a fortune in gold to have the qualities that the three of you have and for you, to grace us each day with your warmth, cheerfulness and passion that you give to us in your blog … it is a pleasure to call you my friend and like I have told you a few times - darn it girl, I wish you were my neighbor!!! Good fortune to you and many blessings to you, Tony and Divina … thanks to all for sharing…

Mary  on December 2nd, 2009

@Drick - Thanks lots for such wonderful compliment & encouragement….one of the best I have received so far. You really warm my heart….I’ll cook more….hehe. Appreciate very much your friendship. I’m packing and moving….to be your neighbour…LOL. I want every shrimp dish that you cook :P

Divina  on December 2nd, 2009

Thanks for posting this Mary. It’s been an honor to be your guest.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake  on December 2nd, 2009

Lovely guest post by Divina, looks like a very tasty soup and totally Mary’s style. Delicious!

Mary  on December 2nd, 2009

@Divina - It’s an honour to have you as my guest blogger. Thanks very much once again for writing such a lovely post and for your frienship.

@Sarah - LOL….looks like Divina knows what I like. Maybe she can read my thoughts :P

Michael Chin  on December 2nd, 2009

Very nice indeed ! Nice soup for the soul ! I like Divina’s brother Anthonny - flourishing & praisworthy - who wouldn’t ?!

Sanjana  on December 2nd, 2009

Great job ladies! Love both of your blogs :) This really is a wonderful collaboration from two amazing people who put their hearts and souls into their cooking. :) Love to you both x

Mary  on December 2nd, 2009

@Michael - Thanks. Hope you try the soup soon. Hope you are still cooking a lot. Anthony is sure a wonderful brother and friend.

@Sanjana - Thanks for lovely compliment. Love to you too.

Divina  on December 2nd, 2009

Oh, thank you so much for the award. :D

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