I love soup…always have.
My mother left home when I was five years old, which meant my father was left to raise myself and my two siblings alone. He was a good dad and I am grateful that my upbringing was more male orientated than most. It can’t have been easy. Although my sister and I were away at boarding school during the week, we were at home at the weekends and during long school holidays. Meanwhile, my older brother stayed home and proved to be a perpetual sword in Dad’s side!
The upside of a world-weary, though infinitely refined, gentleman having to cope with the demands of running his own business and bringing three children up ‘on his tod’, was that every Easter, summer and Christmas we spent our holidays in grand seaside hotels and were often taken out to eat at the best restaurants.
As a little girl trying to contend with making intelligent choices from oversized á la carte menus, I frequently got into trouble! Much to my dad’s irritation (though he kindly never vetoed my decision), soup and bread rolls spread lavishly with butter, was always my preferred ‘appetiser’. Consequently, I was always full-up before the main course arrived, which meant my father paying full whack for half-eaten food!
It’s obvious what the problem was…soup and bread IS (especially for small tummies) a nutritious, warming and satisfying meal in and of itself!
As a parent, I can now appreciate how wise my dad was to graciously accept my mistake and not disrupt my eating pleasure no matter how wasteful the learning process! The upshot is, sixty years later, here I am writing about a love for soup!
The making of soup is probably as old as cooking itself. Originally known as sop, which referred to a liquid broth for dipping bread into, soup-making is basically the art of combining ingredients together in one pot to create a filling, nutritious and easily digested meal.
As I discovered at a very early age, soup can be one of the most satisfying of foods, but it can also be a modern, colourful and adventurous introduction to a meal - especially if you forego grain-laden bread!
Pea & Mint might sound like an English summer soup but not when Bird’s Eye frozen peas are available all year round it’s not! In fact, because frozen peas enable this soup to be cooked so quickly they’re all the better for retaining its brilliant green colour and natural taste.
It’s a delightfully simple soup to make, which should take no longer than 15 minutes hands-on time, so please give it a go and post your comments below. I look forward to your feedback.
Pea & Mint Soup (V) (Serves 4)
1 medium-sized leek (about 175g unprepared weight), top green part discarded, 2 outer layers removed, finely sliced
1 medium onion (about 55g unpeeled weight), finely chopped
750ml (26 fl oz) vegetable stock (made with water and 4 level tsp Marigold organic vegetable bouillon powder)
450g (1lb) frozen peas
15g (½oz) fresh mint leaves
150ml (5fl oz) single cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little extra cream, fresh pea shoots or chopped mint, to serve
Fill and boil a kettle with 750ml fresh cold water. Make a stock with the bouillon powder and boiling water and pour into a large saucepan.
Bring the stock back to the boil, then add the chopped leeks and onions. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Add the frozen peas and mint leaves and bring back to the boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and add the single cream.
Ladle the soup into a food processor or blender and blitz until completely smooth.
Pour back into a clean pan and season with sea salt (about 1 tsp or to taste) and a good grinding of black pepper. Re-heat the soup until it is really hot (just below boiling point)
Divide the soup between four bowls , swirl a teaspoon of cream on the top of each and decorate with pea shoots or chopped mint. Serve immediately.
Carbohydrate 12g Protein 8g