Friday, 25 September 2009

Nigella's Pea and Pesto Soup

I'll never forget the episode of Nigella Express where Nigella makes this soup. She pops it in a thermos and then goes on an outing and drinks some in a taxi, another in a meeting... I remember thinking that taxi drivers on TV are much more understanding than those in real life, I don't think any of the taxi drivers I encounter would be too keen on someone drinking a lurid green soup in their car even if it wasn't staining.

I'm a funny eater, I'm not big on snacking because I find most snack foods to be quite unappetizing. If the food isn't sweets/desserts/cakes, I like food that is part of a meal and not part of a typical snack. Or bread. I wonder what the difference is between a snacker and a grazer? Am I more of a grazer? I don't know. Anyway, this recipe/episode stuck in my head and I thought I should give it a try as it was the dead of winter and everything was quite cold and I had just found my good food thermos and then I can have meal food whenever I wanted to.

It's terribly easy and looks so beautiful while cooking. The gorgeous green peas and spring onions floating in the water were so pretty. The blending was interesting, I have never used the blender to blend a soup before and I wasn't sure how much I could put in there at a time. In the end I erred on the side of caution but it took perhaps 6 refills to get 4 cups of soup. In hindsight, I should have used the immersion blender. I also took care to use a really good quality pesto, one I had to restrain myself from taste testing too much.

It turned out really really well. I'm not normally one who cares for peas, I don't think I would choose to eat them as they were (especially since D really doesn't like peas), however this didn't taste of peas. I couldn't pick out one defined flavour, it all blended together really well. It was nice and soothing and flavourful, although it did need quite a bit of seasoning.

The cooking was a success but unfortunately the using it as a snack didn't eventuate. I packed it in my thermos and took it to work a couple of times, but just never seemed to get around to eating it. I have this problem with drinking water at work too - while I'm working, it just never occurs to me to do these things. I'm having to really watch it with my water intake. Anyway, my soup, while lovely, didn't end up being used as I had intended.

I enjoyed it, especially with some little dinner rolls spread with a little Gympie Farm salted butter. I think I would make it again. Frozen peas last for ages in the freezer and the recipe could be scaled to just make a small amount rather than the huge jug that came out of preparing the recipe as written. It was a really good experiment.

Pea and Pesto Soup
from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson
(can also be found here)

3 cups water
3 cups frozen peas
2 green/spring onions
1 teaspoon Maldon salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) fresh pesto (not jarred)

Using a large saucepan, set the water on to boil. Add the peas, spring onions, salt and lime juice and boil for about 7 minutes.

Remove the spring onions and add the pesto. Blend the soup using an immersion blender or in small portions in a standard blender.

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