Chef Lawrence serves up a simple dish that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.
The wild asparagus season is just about to reach its end and the elderflowers are changing into green berries, hoping for the summer sun to turn them plump and purple.
As the weather improves and we start to put our shorts on, do you think it’s too warm for soup? I suspect you won’t want to be working through a bowl of oxtail or thick vegetable broth at this time of year, but there are some beautiful light and chilled variations that make a great way to start a meal.
I am very partial to gazpacho and the bursting sunshine flavour of the tomatoes and red peppers with hints of garlic and chilli. When consumed in our courtyard garden, it transports me away to the Mediterranean.
In France I was taught to make a warm chicken and garlic soup served with a poached egg, which was a beautiful summer starter.
The only problem you can have with a cold soup is the weather. It would be fantastic if we could guarantee eight weeks of solid sunshine and blue skies, but this is England and the one time you decide on the cold soup option, the temperature will drop and the heavens will open.
So here is a recipe for pea and lettuce soup that if it’s thundering outside you can serve hot and if the sun is out you can serve chilled.
I like to serve this soup with some grilled prawns and pea shoots, but you can leave them out if you wish.
To find out more about Lawrence’s restaurant Fat Olives, visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.
Pea and lettuce soup
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
400ml of milk
450g of peas
1 baby gem lettuce, chopped
150ml of double cream
Butter to cook with
1. Cook the onion and leek in some butter without colouring for two minutes.
2. Pour in the milk and bring to the boil.
3. Add the peas and lettuce and cook for three minutes.
4. Add some seasoning and the cream.
5. Liquidise and pass through a fine sieve.
6. Check the consistency and add a little more milk
if too thick.
7. Chill and serve or serve warm on cooler summer days.