Speedy, simple soup

Sometimes, simple is good. Particularly when lunchtime rolls around faster than expected, the fridge looks bare and you're ravenously hungry, but haven't really got time to leave the house

2138-photo-10.JPGPea soup is one of my favourite solutions to this problem. I can almost always manage to locate a half full bag of peas lurking somewhere in the freezer and when you serve this soup in its simplest form, that's all you need.

Of course, if you've got a stock cube, a bunch of mint or even a bit of feta cheese to hand it helps, but these aren't by any means essential.

Pared-back pea soup doesn't really need a recipe, but there are a couple of tips that are worth noting.

First up, lightly salt the water that you blanch the peas in and make sure that it is rapidly boiling when you add them to the pan; that way the peas cook as quickly as possible and retain not only their colour, but nutrients too. If you do have a bunch of mint hanging around, add a few leaves to the cooking water along with the peas, for extra flavour.

When you drain the peas, save the cooking water. Allow the peas to cool down briefly, before tipping all but a handful into a blender, along with just 150-200ml of water. Blend until smooth; the idea here is to create a thick, restaurant-style puree/veloute, rather than a thin, watery soup.

Taste to check the seasoning - if you happen to have a lemon in the house add a good squeeze now. This will cut through the sweetness of the peas - particularly important if you've used petit pois.

Pour the soup into a serving bowl, crumble over a bit of feta cheese (if you have it) and a scattering of lemon zest. Sprinkle over the reserved whole peas, stop to admire the bright green colour of the soup and tuck in.

Published: October 17, 2011 04:00 AM