I'm so outraged by the fact that it snowed yesterday - in April - I've reverted to winter food. Here's a ribsticking soup that will do for a main meal with some crusty bread and cheese. (If you like mushy peas you'll love it!)
If you haven't got a ham bone (though see my blog on why they're worth tracking down) you could fry up some bacon bits or streaky bacon with the veg instead. Don't use slithery, sliced ham. It doesn't have enough flavour.
Time: About an hour and a quarter
Cost: about 75p a head
1 tbsp light olive oil or other cooking oil
1 medium to large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and sliced (if you have some)
A ham hock bone plus some extra ham
225g green split peas
A bayleaf or a sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper
A handful of fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan or casserole, add the butter then once it’s melted tip in the chopped and sliced vegetables (and bacon if using) and give them a stir. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the ham bone , the split peas and bayleaf then pour in enough water to cover the bone (about 750ml). Bring to the boil and skim then simmer the soup for about an hour until the peas are soft and mushy. Remove the bone and herbs and add a little extra water or vegetable stock to thin the soup a little. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chop up the ham and parsley, add to the soup and reheat. Check seasoning and serve.
* This is a good soup for using up the tail end of a veg box. It would also work well with turnips and swede.
* You can whizz it up in a liquidiser or food processor but I like it to have some texture.