Asparagus, watercress and spinach: enjoying summer soup

It seems counterintuitive to write about soup after a ridiculous spate of hot weather, but actually I find soup quite a refreshing summer food because it tends to be very light and full of veggies. The watercress soup I also suspect would be delicious cold, although I ate it hot.

It all started with @sesp recommending Jamie Oliver’s asparagus soup with a poached egg. I tried it, since it seemed incredibly simple and asparagus is still (just about) in season, and it’s one of the easiest and most delicious meals I’ve made in a while. It’s creamy and delicious while actually only being veggies and stock (I prefer chicken, personally, but it’s easily veganised by switching to vegetable stock) – no flavour-diminishing potato or overly rich dairy.

I’ve also more or less perfected my poached egg technique now, so really delighted with the extra loveliness that adds.  And there is it in my ever-so mature Minnie Mouse giant mug.

Of course, having made it I had some celery still knocking around, and also needed to use up some new potatoes and spring onions. So I bought some spinach and watercress – also faintly seasonal – and experimented. The below is not so much as a recipe as a serving suggestion; I’m sure you can think of other ways of spicing it up (perhaps some nutmeg?) or vegetable substitutions.

2 sticks of celery, diced
3 spring onions, diced
A handful of frozen peas
5 small new potatoes, chopped into smallish chunks
About 2 pints of stock (chicken or vegetable – really depends how runny you like your soup)
1 bag spinach
2 bags watercress
Natural yogurt to serve (optional)

Gently soften the celery and spring onion in a glug of olive oil, then add potatoes*, peas and stock and simmer until the potatoes are soft (around 20 minutes).

Add spinach and watercress to quickly blanch, then blend, taste and season. Add a dollop of yogurt if that floats your boat. For Ashley’s I also fried some pieces of bacon and popped them on top, which adds a lovely salty, chewy touch (shhh! Don’t tell the rabbi!).

*I added the spinach at this point because I was being absent-minded. This overcooks it and makes it a bit bitter. Didn’t kill it dead, and the addition of the yogurt balanced it out, but I wouldn’t do it again. And, yes, I know I just accused potato of diminishing flavour, but asparagus is quite a lot more delicate.

Needless to say, both taste really good with shedloads of decent bread. Or, in my case, a bit of wholemeal that was approaching use-it-or-lose-it stage. I realise I make my kitchen sound like a chaos of stuff that’s about to go off, and I promise it’s not always like that, but I’m a full-time office worker, social media addict and mum; let’s not expect miracles. (And yes, Ash does some of the cooking, and *cough* more than half of the cleaning *cough*)

So there you go. Unseasonal, seasonal soup. Enjoy.

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