FLAMING June — which means that we have been wearing winter clothes for the past three weeks. Mary Goldsmith has written to me, and proposes a comforting summer or winter Pea, mint, and sweet potato soup.
A little olive, rapeseed, or other oil
An onion, chopped
A sweet potato, diced
An apple (Bramley is best, but dessert apples can be used), diced
Peas: fresh, frozen, or dried and cooked
A little celery, chopped
Garden mint (or mint sauce)
Vegetable bouillon powder, or salt and pepper to taste.
Fry the onion and celery in the oil. Add boiling water to the pan and put in the apple, peas, and sweet potato. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sweet potato is soft. Add the seasoning and chopped mint, or some mint sauce.
Whizz in the food processor or blender. Add more water if desired. A thicker soup makes a good lunchtime meal. A thinner one is better as a first course for a main meal. Serve hot or chilled.
Meanwhile, my daughter Trinity urges the pleasure of aubergines baked with a brush of Sauce made from one teaspoon each of cider vinegar, honey, and soy sauce.
I have also tried another sauce successfully with courgettes, and shall try it with marrows when they arrive: one tablespoon each of miso and honey, and two tablespoons of rapeseed oil.
Halve the vegetables and score with criss-cross lines. For both the sauces, mix the ingredients together, and brush generously over the vegetables.
Bake in a hot oven for about 40 minutes, or until they are really tender. Just before the end of baking, scatter sesame seeds on top. These are good to eat hot, with steamed vegetables and rice, or cold with salad and humous.
If you are beginning to entertain in the garden again, what about Aromatic biscuits, ready in 15 minutes and with no palm oil or packaging in sight? This makes about 12.
75g (3 oz) butter
50g (2 oz) coconut sugar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
75g (3 oz) flour
¼ teaspoon each bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, and allspice
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
Heat the oven to 160°C/300°F/Gas 3 and line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar and add the rest of the ingredients. Space the mixture in teaspoon-sized blobs over the paper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just turning golden. Lift the biscuits on the paper on wire racks to cool and crisp.