I probably don’t need to explain the merits of soup to a nation of soup lovers, but what I enjoy about it is that, like jam, perfume and a photograph, it has the power to capture a moment or a season in a pure way and, much like a cup of tea, the ability to make you feel calmer and braver. And, as with anything that is good and simple, it can give you the sense that happiness is not just about the big things in life, but also the small ones, such as fresh bread, a sunny day … or a bowl of soup.
Courgette, pea and asparagus soup
You’ll need a blender to make this. Feel free to use fresh peas, if you’re lucky enough to have some.
Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅓ tsp ground black pepper
2 courgettes (or 500g), finely diced
250g asparagus, woody ends snapped off and discarded, the rest chopped
300g frozen petit pois, defrosted
750ml vegetable stock
1¼ tsp fine sea salt
Heat the oil in a large saucepan for which you have a lid and, once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring every now and then, for about 12 minutes, until very soft and starting to caramelise. Add the garlic, cinnamon and pepper, cook for a further three minutes, then add the courgettes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until soft. Now add the asparagus, cook for five minutes, then stir in the peas, stock and salt, bring up to a boil and immediately take the pan off the heat.
Using a stick blender or food processor, whizz half the mixture (or just enough to thicken the soup), then ladle into bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.