Soup and Risotto at the Allotment

What a jolly time we had in the kitchen at the Step Outside allotments when Lisa Osman from All Hallows Farmhouse came to visit.  She arrived and set up her hob and lovely home grown ingredients and in no time at all we were all enjoying her excellent risotto plus lovage and asparagus soup.  She even showed us how to use a knife and chop professionally.

Many thanks to Lisa for a fabulous afternoon.

Here is the soup recipe, if you want to have a go - I can thoroughly recommend it as we all found it delicious and many had second helpings.

Lovage and Asparagus Soup
Finely chop four shallots or one large onion.  Sweat in a large lidded saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter, until the shallots are soft and transparent. Finely chop a stem (approx. 8 inches) of lovage add this to the pan along with a bay leaf.  Stir for a minute and add a little more oil if necessary so that the onions do not stick or burn.  Chop the lovage leaves and reserve to add later.  Peel and roughly chop two medium sized floury potatoes (we used Maris Piper) add this to the pan along with a crushed bay leaf.  Add a pint of vegetable or chicken stock, replace lid and simmer gently until the potatoes are soft.  Finely chop six asparagus stems and add to the simmering pan.  When the asparagus is cooked, use a stick blender to puree the soup and then add the fine tips of asparagus.  Return to heat and cook for one minute.  Add the finely chopped lovage leaves, a generous handful of grated parmesan and a dash of cream to serve.

 Cooks tips:
Select the new growth lovage for your soup as the older stems will be tough and stringy alternatively substitute celery for the lovage and add a handful of soft herbs such as parsley, chervil and tarragon.
Swap the double cream for crème fraiche for a lower fat alternative. Or cream cheese can be used to replace both the parmesan and cream.

Glen Wilkins