Pea soup and metaphors

I’ve just had the sat­is­fy­ing exper­i­ence of being able to live a meta­phor. While shop­ping for the cour­gettes and peas to make this soup, I bought smoked bacon to add to pasta for sup­per. But as I left the shop, the bacon slipped from my bag unnoticed. A very kind teen­age boy ran after me with the lost pack­et of rash­ers, which gave me the unique chance to say both lit­er­ally and meta­phor­ic­ally — ‘thank you, you’ve saved my bacon.’ Per­fect.

I doubt ‘save my bacon’ is a meta­phor that trans­lates across all lan­guages and cul­tures, in which case just enjoy the soup. The soup should be a meta­phor too, by the way. For a per­fect day in sum­mer. It’s my equi­val­ent of New York chick­en noodle — I swear it cures a head­ache.

Summer Pea Soup

Serves 4

3 cloves gar­lic

Olive oil

500g pod­ded fresh peas or frozen petit pois (which hon­estly taste just as good, espe­cially if the fresh peas aren’t in the first flush of youth)

500g cour­gettes or zuc­chini quartered length­ways and then chopped into smallish pieces

Hand­ful of young spin­ach leaves

500ml veget­able stock — Marigold bouil­lon works fine. If using fresh peas in this recipe, sim­mer the stock with the dis­carded pea pods for extra fla­vour. Strain the stock after about ten minutes of sim­mer­ing.

Basil leaves

Parmes­an if you feel like it

Slice the gar­lic finely and soften gently in the olive oil, without let­ting it go brown. After about five minutes add the cour­gettes and soften those too — fif­teen minutes should be fine. Add 250g of the peas and the strained veget­able stock and sim­mer for five minutes. Add season­ing and stir in the spin­ach leaves. Whizz the mix­ture up while still in the pan, using a stick blender. You’re aim­ing for a smooth-ish soup, rather than a silky one. Add the rest of the peas. If using frozen peas, merely bring the soup back up to a sim­mer. If using fresh, add an extra five minutes cook­ing time, but don’t over­cook. You’re aim­ing for start­ling green, not khaki. Pour into bowls with a few basil leaves on top. Great with parmes­an, also great without.

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