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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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