I was having scones. Not scones and jam and cream, but hot, fresh scones with butter and a slice of cheese. I lived alone, I wasn’t feeling super hungry and I’d just edited a scone recipe for Jackie French’s newsletter at work, so all I’d been able to think about was pastry. It wasn’t out of lack of food, or anything other than sometimes you don’t feel like eating meat and three veg.
I think Nan interpreted the meal, however, as me not really having enough money to eat, because this was around the time she started sending me spending money in my fortnightly letters. But it was also not long after that conversation that the little blue recipe book arrived (I also heard from multiple family members that Nan was talking to them about how bad it was that I was eating scones for dinner).
In some ways, though not that night, she was right. I didn’t make much money when I lived in Sydney, and it’s a hard city to live in if you’re struggling financially. But the little recipe book definitely helped me on those weeks where I was running on fumes. This is one of those recipes.
Pea soup consists mainly of frozen peas. I don’t know about you, but even when I can’t remember having bought peas for a while, there always seems to be a bag of them in the freezer. Most standard bags of peas are 1kg, and the recipe calls for 500g of peas, so, there’s already two meals here!
A few things to note before you look at the recipe. The base recipe is super bland, and I’m reasonably sure that it was built that way on purpose. There’s barely any seasoning, no stock, no additives, which, for someone on a budget, means that this is a reasonably basic recipe that you can build on with whatever you have in the pantry. There are so many possibilities to jazz it up depending on what you have and like.
I always have some sort of stock at home, so I usually start my jazzing by adding a tablespoon of my Thermomix veggie paste, or a cube, or substituting some of the water with liquid stock.
The other thing is that Nan has included marjoram as the only herb. I am reasonably sure that she used to grow it, because I have never found fresh marjoram in the supermarket. I use a sprinkle of dried marjoram and then whatever else I have fresh or dried that is complementary (oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley). You can also add other veggies like celery and carrots if you’re looking to bulk it up and change the flavour a bit.
And lastly, there are additions. I don’t eat much meat, so that’s why Nan has made this just a pea soup recipe. You can definitely add some ham if you’re a pea and ham soup lover, or start with ham hocks and split peas if that’s the way you want to roll (though, this maybe takes the quick, easy, and budget aspect out of the equation). For me, I grilled some haloumi in the oil leftover from the onion mix, chopped it finely and when I dished the soup I sprinkled it on top. This added some texture and saltiness to the dish which was yum. This time around, I also put a little brown rice in the bottom of the bowl because I wasn’t having bread or anything extra with it.
If you try this one out, I’d love to know how you jazz it up, so make sure you let me know by leaving a comment below.
Lucy’s pea soup (base recipe)
500g frozen peas
1 TBSP oil
1 small brown onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves crushed garlic
A few sprigs of marjoram
Boil the peas in one litre of water until soft. In another pan, heat the oil and add the onion garlic, and marjoram. Sauté until onions are soft and browned. Drain some of the water from the peas but set aside. Add the onion mix to the peas and blend with a stick blender. If the consistency is too thick, add a little of the remaining water in.
Add a tablespoon of cream to each serving.
You can also substitute the water for stock, or dissolve a stock cube in it to add a bit more flavour. As mentioned above, you can vary this recipe in infinite ways.
And that’s it for pea soup. Don’t forget to share if you liked this, and leave a comment.