I had such a brilliant weekend. Saturday was for seeing friends and sleeping in after a big Valentine's Day dinner party at my friend Amelia's, which meant that on Sunday I woke up fresh and ready to go. After I had got my run and a yoga class out the way I settled into the kitchen. I figured that having complained about being oven-less for so long, I really ought to post some baked and roasted recipes, so this soup is the first of three to come...
It sounds bizarre to go on and on about an oven and then straight away choose to make soup, but the roasted garlic makes the recipe. It gives it the most delicious caramalised flavour, making it taste more warming and winter-y than my usual pea soup recipe, which is definitely more fresh, light and summer-y. The idea comes from a soup that my aunt made for me years ago which I absolutely adored, but never got around to making, so whilst this is my take on her recipe I sadly can't claim any credit for the (delicious) idea.
Having mentionned in my recipe for Gooey Chocolate and Caramel Bars that I have a serious chocoholic in the family, the rest of them are pretty mad about garlic... There is one who loves it more than any of us, so I have a feeling this soup may be on the menu when I go back home and see him in two weeks. Garlic is used world wide to flavour food, and there are definitely very few things in my kitchen that manage to escape it. Not only is it so versatile and incredibly delicious, but thanks to a compound called allicin found in it, it actually has antibacterial properties. Whilst it contains small amounts of numerous vitamins and minerals, its most notorious health benefits come from its antioxidants (which help prevent heart-disease), immune-strengthening effects and anti-cancer properties. As if he needs encouraging...
2 bulbs of garlic
2 cups of frozen peas
1 big handful of basil
Splash of cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Chop onion into quarters and place the wedges along with whole bulbs of garlic into a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and roast at 180°C for 30 minutes. They may need turning/stirring in that time so keep an eye on them - it is very important that they don't burn or even brown too much, as this will give your soup a nasty bitter taste. In the meantime, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook your peas, then drain and allow to cool. When the onion and garlic are ready, leave to cool for a few minutes then peel off the skins. The cloves should be cooked through and sticky (and smell AMAZING). Add all ingredients (except the rocket) to the blender with some water, and blend until completely smooth. The amount of water you add depends on how thick you like your soup - I would start with 2 cups of water and see how it goes. Heat on the stove just before serving, garnish with rocket and a drizzle of olive oil (some parmesan or pecorino shavings would be delicious here for those not avoiding dairy!)