Off to visit my mother-in-law in France this week so we spent the weekend using up odds and ends from the fridge and freezer. On Saturday night I made a pea and lettuce soup which sounds pretty unseasonal but I like salad even in winter and this is a good way to use up the outside leaves
You simply trim and chop up a bunch of spring onions and soften them in a little oil and butter, chuck in a handful of lettuce leaves and some chopped parsley stalks, let them wilt then add about 200g of frozen peas, a cooked, sliced potato, a handful of parsley leaves and about 500ml of vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 minutes until the peas are cooked. (You need to cook the potato first otherwise the soup will take too long and the peas will lose their fresh green colour). Cool for 5 minutes then whizz in a blender or food processor, return the soup to the pan then add another 200ml or so of stock or milk and heat through. You can sieve the soup if you want a smoother texture or whisk in a bit of soft butter or cream for a more luxurious taste. A squeeze of lemon juice doesn't go amiss.
With it we had some crostini topped with fromage fort, a brilliant French way of using the assorted odds and ends of cheese from the fridge. No exact quantities. I used a bit of leftover goats cheese log and Brie (both with the rinds removed and a rather sad bit of Appenzeller which had seen better days. You simply blitz a clove of garlic in a food processor, add the cheese (sliced or crumbled) and whizz till you have a smooth paste then add just enough white wine to give a spreadable consistency. Season with cayenne pepper, chilli powder or hot paprika.
There was enough soup left over for a couple of extra little cupfuls last night before a main course of a shepherds pie-like dish salvaged from the remains of last week’s braised beef topped with celeriac mash which I’d stashed away in the freezer. I must say it felt good not to be chucking out food this morning.
Communication may be spasmodic this week. Back next weekend, if not before . . .