The recent May retreat at Bosloe was our first venture into a time of year when there are leaves on the trees and flowers in bloom. Our other retreats have tended to be in the autumn and early spring when we are accustomed to evenings around the fire and darker afternoons. Lunch in the shorter days of the year features hearty, nourishing soups, with root vegetables and pulses as their base.
For May we wanted something lighter on the menu, and to use seasonal ingredients for spring and early summer. Tomato and basil, mushroom soup, spinach and watercress – light, bright colours and fresh flavours to go with Kath’s homemade courgette bread and salads. The favourite – by popular acclaim – was pea and asparagus, the colour of an emerald, made with a tasty gluten-free stock and just a dash of creme fraiche to make it silky.
Here is the recipe for pea and asparagus soup. This makes enough for about 8 servings.
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium white onions, finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 2 litres of gluten free vegetable or chicken stock (we use Kallo)
- 1kg of frozen peas or petit pois (a big bag)
- 2 bunches of trimmed and chopped asparagus. If you like, make some extra stock with the tough part of the asparagus stems – it adds to the flavour
- A dash of double cream or crème fraiche before serving. The size of a dash depends on how creamy you like it
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil until softened
- Add the stock and bring gently to the boil
- Add the peas and bring back to the boil, then add the asparagus
- Simmer for 20 minutes, until soft
- Check for seasoning and add a little salt and pepper if you like
- If the soup seems too thick, add a little more stock
- Cool and blend, then add a few tablespoons (a dash) of cream or crème fraiche before gently reheating to serve.