Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A Real Pea-Souper!

Did you know that the term 'Peasouper' for those awful, thick London fogs was coined in 1849 by Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick? Our capital has suffered from heavy fog for centuries. The Thames basin is prone to mist, and even in the medieval period this was made worse by domestic fires burning wood and ‘sea-coal’ brought by boat from Newcastle. Elizabeth I proclaimed herself “greatly grieved and annoyed with the taste and smoke of sea-coales”. In 1661, John Evelyn complained that sea-coal had turned London into “hell upon earth”. 
His proposal to move industry outside the city and to create a green belt of aromatic plants and hedges was ignored, and so, as London expanded to become the largest metropolis the world had ever seen, the fogs grew steadily worse.
In the last century, there was the Great Fog of 1952 [well described in ‘The Crown’] which claimed 4000 lives, and resulted in the passing of the Clean Air Act. 
10 years later, in December 1962, there was a nationwide fog lasting 4 days. The death toll was in the low 100s [bad enough] and the public were warned [most had TVs by then] to take proper precautions – like these young chaps from Manchester!
Why the discussion of fog, when the weather these past few days has been bright and sunny? Because I have been using up some of my wild garlic to make pea soup!
Very quick and easy, lovely for a light lunch. I had half a small, stale baguette to use up - the heel was diced , and then the remainder brushed with oil and oven baked to make huge crisp croutons.
Pea and Wild Garlic Soup
Serves 2
1tbsp oil
1 small onion, diced 
500g vegetable stock
200g frozen peas
20g wild garlic
½cup diced stale bread
salt & pepper

1- heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat off the onion for 5-10 minutes till soft and translucent.
2- add the stock, peas, bread, and chopped garlic [reserve a few flower heads for garnish] 
3- bring to the boil
4- simmer for 10 minutes
5- puree in liquidiser or with stick blender. 
6- season to taste. Reheat if needed
7- ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with a drizzle of oil and flowers
or allow to go cold, serve chilled


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!