Sunday, 5 February 2012

Fresh Herbs in February?

Fresh herbs; the No Croutons Required February challenge!  Well now that is a challenge, especially as following a very mild winter so far February has begun with temperatures well below zero; so no herbs in the garden and I don't grow pots in the house, I've never faired very well with houseplants of any description.

So what fresh herbs can I find in the supermarket that don't look soft and flimsy,? Not much choice I'm afraid but Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes has laid down the gauntlet and I'm prepared to pick it up!

Given the drop in temperature I'm going for a soup rather than a salad option; so after sitting down with the cookbooks for a couple of hours I think I've found the answer in the latest addition to my library.  As you may have realised I'm a big Hugh FW fan, I find his recipes very achievable and above all really tasty.  After browsing through his latest offering River Cottage Veg Everyday whilst visiting J last weekend I was impressed enough to place an order for my copy.

dressed with mint and rapeseed oil
The soup recipe that I decided to try is Pea and Parsley Soup.  Two herbs make a very significant contribution to this light and fresh flavoured dish: flat leaved parsley and thyme.  The other ingredients being peas, onion, vegetable stock and mint.

Just noticed that other than the honour of winning this month's NCR challenge there promises to be a copy of River Cottage Herbs as a prize - could it be fate?

Pea and Parsley Soup
Makes about 6 - 8 servings
Heat about 2tbs rapeseed oil and 20g unsalted butter in a saucepan.  When the butter has melted add the finely chopped onion and about 3tbsp of chopped fresh thyme.  Cook gently until the onion is transluscent.

Add 500g frozen peas, 20g chopped flatleaf parsley and 1 litre vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil then simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes until the peas are very soft.

Blend the soup until very smooth.  Serve with a scatter of chopped mint and a drizzle of rapeseed oil.

This soup could also be served cold in summer.

Note: I think I would make a couple of small changes to the recipe when I repeat it by increasing the amount of parsley and adding a little garlic; other than that it's perfect!


Sylvie said...

I've just given in and ordered a copy on amazon!

Susan@Holly Grove said...

Excellent! You won't regret it Sylvie.

Jacqueline said...

That looks gorgeous Susan, thanks for submitting it for this month's NCR :)

Susan@Holly Grove said...

Fingers crossed that it proves to be an interesting enough recipe Jacqueline.

Jacqueline said...

It is a lovely recipe, especially with all those fresh herbs. I am just typing up the No Croutons Required roundup just now. Pancake day held it up :)

Corina said...

I love pea soup. The slight bitterness of the parsley must balance it out really nicely in this one.

Susan@Holly Grove said...

Hi Corina, it is a lovely light, fresh soup and was delicious in February. I'm looking forward to trying it again in summer this time with our home grown peas and herbs.

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