Rainy Summer, Happy Soup (Pea soup with mint and yogurt)

When I left the house this morning, it was pouring. I covered myself with a bright yellow cape, pulled the hood tightly around my face and draped the fabric over my bike before taking off. On the way to the station, people kept throwing smiles my way. Frankly, I was surprised at their good cheer in such crap weather. That is, until I got a good look at myself in a shop window and noticed I looked like a large yellow egg. With a hat and wheels. Yeah, maybe there were fewer naturally cheery souls around that morning than I thought.

Oh well. This weather does have its upsides. It is, in my mom’s words, “growthly weather”. Meaning that plants love the muggy wetness and bouts of sunshine and are falling over themselves to get bigger. Sometimes literally:

The purple basil has toppled over

And that means lots of herby loveliness to cook with. Generous handfuls of oregano in my Greek salad, piles of green and purple basil for raw tomato sauce and plenty of mint for fresh pea soup.

The craving for this soup was inspired by Nigella Lawson, as is so often true for me. In Forever Summer she talks about a cold pea soup with mint, calling it a “lovely, fresh and soothing emulsion”. Makes you hungry, doesn’t it? Going whole hog with the recipe seemed like too much of an effort for a quick after-work bowlful, especially the bit where you have to wait for the soup to be thoroughly cold. Not happening when I am on the prowl for a snack to stop my stomach from growling. I am happy to report, though, that the soup is mighty tasty even in my adapted version.

Almost as happy as the people who saw a giant yellow egg hurtling past them this morning.

Pea soup with mint and yogurt

Serves 2

250 gr of peas (fresh or frozen)
1 shallot, finely minced
glug of olive oil
500 ml water
generous pinch of salt
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
2 large scoops creamy yogurt

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan, and add the shallot when hot. Spin the pieces around in the pan a couple of times, until they have softened a bit. Add the peas, mix with the shallot pieces and add the water. Cover the pan and bring the water to a gentle boil. Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until peas are soft. Leave to cool slightly, then add mint leaves and blitz with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste, add salt, blitz again and repeat until it has enough salt.

Transfer to two bowls and cool to as least tepid before adding a scoop of yogurt to each bowl. Serve. (This tastes even better cold, so do chill before eating if you have the patience.)

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