I don’t remember exactly when or where I discovered Donna Hay for the first time, but I have a feeling that it was at my aunt’s house in London (also, notably, where I discovered Nigella Lawson). However it happened, I have been a loyal fan ever since, so I could not but jump at the chance to participate in a Donna Hay blogging contest/club (what are these things called, really?). Add to that the fact that: 1) I love soup, 2) I love peas and mint, and 3) it’s June so anything green and fresh-tasting automatically appeals, and I could hardly contain my excitement. I think I got a little carried away, actually, because the excitement of the dish didn’t really live up to my excitement about making it . . . but more on that later.
First, an explanation of my “twist”: the other day I had a craving for fresh mint tisane (actually, I think I had an upset stomach, but whatever), and I recalled seeing a rather sprawling mint bush in front of a house down the street. Okay, so it was technically stealing, but mint is so prolific, and I only needed a little bit, I figured if anything, I would be doing a good service (on that note, I ended up doing a truly good service as a result of my excursion for the mint by returning a dog that had gotten loose and was wandering around in the street to its home, so now aren’t you glad I’m an herb thief?). As it turned out when I got there, it was not a mint plant at all but lemon balm. No matter, I picked a couple sprigs and made lemon balm tisane instead. This little switcheroo popped into my mind later when I stumbled on Juls’ post. Peas and mint go well together, but so do peas and lemon. So I substituted lemon balm for most of the mint, added lemon zest to the sour cream, and – voila – made lemony pea soup. Somewhat disappointingly, the lemon balm didn’t do much. The soup was still quite tasty, but it lacked the punchy flavor that I was hoping for. No criticism of DH for the recipe or Juls for her selection; I would definitely make it again because it’s so simple and because I love peas and soup, but I think I will use my next act of larceny for some other purpose. Here’s the recipe as I made it:
- 3 cups (360g) frozen green peas
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1.5 litres chicken stock
- ½ cup whole milk (original calls for cream; I used lactose-free milk to accommodate my mother who is lactose-intolerant)
- 1 tablespoon chopped lemon balm
- 1 teaspoon chopped mint
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- crusty bread, to serve
Lemon pepper sour cream
- · ½ cup (120g) sour cream
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
Place the peas, potato and stock in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the potato is tender. Roughly blend the soup and return to the saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk, lemon balm, mint, salt and pepper and heat until hot.
To make the sour cream, combine the sour cream, lemon zest, and pepper. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the sour cream and serve with bread. Serves 4.
Much thanks to Denise for organizing this little event. See you next month!