A while ago I finally set up a Twitter account, mainly because I needed to actually get serious about advertising my bread making courses and also to see what everyone else was talking about. One friend summed it up as, "Facebook is everyone sharing pictures of cats, Twitter is everyone sharing pictures of cakes." Right up my street then.
Being on Twitter has had two positive outcomes, first of all the need to feed the ever hungry internet information beast has finally given me the kick up the proverbial I needed to start writing again and also I have found some interesting new recipes and foody ideas.
One of these foody ideas is Meat Free Mondays. There is nothing like having to feed small children to make you look at your diet and decide that improvements have to be made. You can no longer get away with munching a bowl of cereal in front of the TV on an evening just because you can't be bothered and you can no longer get away with ignoring vegetables, If you try to then the ever present parent guilt centre of your brain will light up and prod you into action or send you to the nearest chocolate bar.
To combat this I have been trying to cook more vegetarian food. Luckily my kids like veg, my husband likes veg and I like it too, I just get fed up with all the peeling sometimes. The real difficulty comes in finding good recipes. Yes, there are meat free alternatives to most meat products available but they are quite expensive, tend to be a bit dry (to my personal taste) and vegetarian bacon! That is a reason all in itself. If you have never experienced vegetarian bacon then you are in for, well, an experience.
All this preamble serves as an introduction to my latest favourite recipe, Leek, Potato and Pea Soup. This comes from 1000 Recipes, a small but weighty cook book that was my Mum's favourite and is now mine. Old fashioned, no pictures and lots of assumed knowledge but the best kitchen stand by I have, even, dare I say, more often consulted than Delia.
The beauty of this recipe is that if you eat it with whole meal bread then the peas and wheat combine together to give you a full range of proteins in one meal. This makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians. Vitamin C from the potato and plenty of greens from the peas and leeks.
I know that I haven't specified quantities because it all depends on whether you want it to taste of peas, leeks or potatoes the most. For those that would like guidance I recommend 2 medium leeks to 1 potato and 3 tablespoons of peas. Add a good pinch of stock powder and 1 sprig of mint.
Leek, Potato and Pea Soup
Chop some leeks and heat in a pan on a low heat, the idea is to sweat them, rather than brown them.
Dice some potatoes and add them to the pan.
Cover the pan and let the veg sweat for 10 to 15 minutes. Really the longer the better here.
Boil some water and some vegetarian stock, following the instructions on the pack.
Once the leeks are soft add the water and stock to the pan.
Stir and leave it to come up to a simmer.
Simmer for around ten minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
Add the peas and some mint (fresh or dried both work here) and put the lid on and wait for the soup to come back up to the boil.
Once it has come to the boil a second time it will be cooked.
Turn off the heat and allow to cook a little.
To get a smooth consistency you can use a liquidizer, food processor or similar. You can even just use a potato masher but this will leave the leeks in one piece. Which is fine if you like them like that or you chopped them up small to begin with.
Enjoy with some bread and let me know if you try the recipe out please.