Arrived home early this afternoon after a highly uncomfortable journey from Aberdeenshire to Inverness. The reason for my discomfort was not the twisty, slow A96, nor was it bad weather, nor illness, nor traffic, nor any other problem one might expect from a car trip: it was the constant forlorn looks I was getting from the homesick dog in the back seat. Rosie (my brother’s cocker spaniel) was obviously not as excited I was about her week long stay in Inverness.
On arriving home I did my absolute best to make her happy. Though my cuddling, walking and hiding-a-bag-of-chicken-in-my-pocket tactics worked to an extent, we didn’t truly bond until it began thundering. I was excited (embarrassingly so – it doesn’t thunder much here) and she was confused (also embarrassingly so – she prides herself on being fiesty). But we both wanted a cuddle. It was perfect.
Post-bonding, we played in the garden. Nowadays, whenever I have been away from home for a few days the first thing I do on my return is check the vegetable patch. Last week I came home to raspberries. This week I came home to peas! Hurrah!
Peas are fantastic. Not only do they look amazing (teeny-weeny, perfect spheres of flawless green), they also taste heavenly sweet. I remember my cousin and I gorging ourselves on our grandfather’s peas. Standing amongst the vines (?) which towered above us, we’d eat the actual peas then crunch up the casings and suck the juice out before spitting out what was left of the chewed up, stringy green pods all over Gaga’s (what we called our grandfather) garden. Needless to say we got in a lot of trouble.
My own peas aren’t ready yet. Having already popped four of the unripened pods (are these mangetout?) into my mouth I am trying extremely hard to leave the rest alone. I’m with Nigella on the pea issue. Fresh peas (as in JUST picked) are amazing if you are lucky enough to have access to them; frozen peas are also fantastically sweet; the podded peas that are sold in summer in the supermarkets, however, are crap. In the day or so it takes them to get to the store they have lost their sweetness and have become starchy instead. Do you agree? Or have I just had bad pea experiences? Or perhaps my good pea experiences have just been too good?
Is this a glass half empty/half full question?
Anyhoo, my garden pea progress put me in the mood for a fresh pea soup. The following recipe is made frequently in my kitchen. I love it.
Pea, Basil and Feta Soup
2 tblspn olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g frozen peas
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
Handful of basil
100g feta cheese
- Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute gently until soft but not browned.
- Add the peas and stir. Cook for 1 min.
- Add the stock and stir. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 10 mins.
- Remove from heat, add basil leaves and blend. Season carefully (remember the feta will be salty).
- Serve sprinkled with a generous amount of feta and a moderate amount of black pepper.
By the by, if anyone was wondering how the doggy weekend went, it was fab. Check out flickr on the sidebar for a couple of canine pictures.