Cook it, live it – cream of green pea soup

Cook cream of green pea soup from Elizabeth David on Vegetables, live it with stylish Habitat dinnerware.

‘This is one of the nicest, freshest and simplest of the summer soups. Those who claim not to be able to taste the difference between frozen and fresh peas will perhaps find it instructive to try this dish. Not that a very excellent soup cannot be made with frozen peas, but when fresh peas are at the height of their season, full grown but still young and sweet, the difference in intensity of flavour and of scent is marked indeed

Quantities for four ample servings are 875g / 1¾lb of peas, the heart of the cabbage lettuce, 125g / ¼lb (yes, 125g / ¼lb) of butter, 1 litre / 1¾ pints of water, salt and sugar.

‘Melt the butter in your soup saucepan; put in the lettuce heart washed and cut up into fine strips with a silver or stainless-steel knife; add the shelled peas, 2 teaspoons of salt and a lump or two (about 1-1½ teaspoons) of sugar. Cover the pan; cook gently for 10 minutes until the peas are thoroughly soaked in the butter. Add the water; cook at a moderate pace until the peas are quite tender. Sieve them, or purée them in a liquidiser. Return to the pan and heat up. A little extra seasoning may be necessary but nothing else at all. Enough for four ample helpings.’

Rex bowls; Evora orange side plate; Evora grey dinner plate; Rista placemat; Gala napkin; Devon tumbler; Devon champagne glass; Airy jug; Panda chopping board. Photography (Habitat dinnerware): Patrick Quayle

Elizabeth David on Vegetables is a compilation of the late culinary legend’s recipes, published in 2013 to mark the centenary year of her birth. The intelligent, passionate and unpretentious books she wrote between the 50s and the 80s introduced a new way of cooking to the UK and were a huge influence on the Habitat lifestyle.

They were always more than lists of ingredients, though, as this volume’s editor, Jill Norman, says: ‘Elizabeth’s writing shows a self-effacing authority and respect for authenticity and tradition; food is put into context, and she quotes widely from literature, history and travel writing. Her style is elegant, she writes with clarity and imaginative boldness, with fire and bite and a caustic wit when the topic demands. She draws the reader in, making her or him want to cook, even if the instructions are sometimes sketchy. She expects the reader to think for themselves and not rely blindly on a recipe book.’

Elizabeth David on Vegetables by Elizabeth David is published by Quadrille (£20). Book photography: Kristin Perers

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