I’m a great user of living leaves in my recipes and food choices. I think there is little better than stepping outside to grab a handful of edible salad leaves, fresh herbs or vegetables for a salad, a flavouring or garnish, or for a main meal or accompaniment. I have an extensive herb garden and limited vegetable and fruit plot and wish I had more space to indulge in this ‘from plot to pot’ fantasy. However I do run short of supplies from time to time, don’t grow the full range of ingredients I like to cook with, nor have a greenhouse for extended season cultivation. To supplement my repetoire (and for those occasions ‘when time is too short to source, stuff and cook a mushroom’) I make full use of bagged salads and edibles grown in pots.
So imagine my delight when I chanced upon a new product, hot off the supermarket shelf, that promises living leaves in a classic mint and pea combination which is ready to snip and be eaten or planted out for longer term use. Little or no preparation is needed for these living pots of freshness … they are the perfect standby for made-in-minute recipes like soup, smoothies and sandwich spreads.
From Steve’s Leaves at a recommended retail price of £2.95, these pots can be kept on the windowsill and with just a little bit of water now and again will look sprightly and taste delicious. The pots keep on growing too so they can be planted outside when the weather is warm enough (just about now in the UK!). Each pot also comes with a plant marker and a soup recipe. I gave the Pea Shoot and Mint Soup recipe a whirl and can vouch that it is wonderful and only uses about one-third of the pea shoot and mint sprigs on the plant …so plenty left over for trying out some other recipes.
I’ve very slightly adjusted the recipe to make it more bariatric-friendly (although the original is just slightly higher in fat and therefore calories). It would make a fabulous meal for those just out of surgery on the Fluids and Pureed stage of eating (what I call the Red and Amber stages) and doubly delicious further out when ‘eating for life’ (the Green stage). Here it is…enjoy!
PEA AND HAM SOUP WITH PEA SHOOTS AND MINT
25g/2 tbsp light butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick/stalk celery, finely chopped
5-6 new potatoes (about 375 g/12 oz) with their skins, chopped
900 ml/33/4 cups hot vegetable stock/bouillon
100 g/4 oz frozen peas
50 g/1/4 cup chopped cooked ham or bacon
1/3 pot snipped leaves of pea shoots and fresh mint (about 50g/2 oz fresh pea shoots and 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh pea shoots and mint to garnish
- Melt the light butter in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and new potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock/bouillon and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender.
- Add the peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the pea shoots and mint from your pot (or plot) and the ham or bacon.
- Puree in a blender until smooth then season to taste.
- Reheat f necessary to serve garnished with fresh pea shoots and mint.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
* suitable for freezing
Images courtesy of Steve’s Leaves and copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd