Summer Soup

This soup comes from a farm near the great house of Luton Hoo. It is written out in an early nineteenth-century collection of recipes which came from a cook at the great house. The soup depends on all the vegetables and herbs being fresh from the garden. It should be served chilled, with very hot triangles of cheese pastry.

Ingredients

  • 1 lettuce, outer leaves removed, well washed and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) strips
  • ¼ lb (120 g) spinach, chopped 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 8 shallots or 2 medium onions or 12 spring onions, chopped
  • ½ lb (240 g) potatoes, peeled and cut in ½ inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 5 cups (1.2 litres) chicken stock
  • 12 parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 3 lemon thyme sprigs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • cups (3 dl) double cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint and parsley mixed

The Pastry Triangles

  • ½ lb (240 g) short pastry
  • cup (60 g) grated Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Method

Put all the vegetables into a saucepan with the stock. Tie the herbs in a bunch and add to the pan with the salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the herbs and allow the soup to get cold; when cold stir in all but a tablespoon of the cream. Put the soup in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Meanwhile, roll out the pastry, sprinkle with the cheese and the cayenne pepper, fold over and roll out to about ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick. Cut the pastry into neat triangles, brush over with the beaten egg yolk and bake at 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 6) for about 10 minutes.

Ladle the chilled soup into 4 bowls. Put a teaspoon of cream on top of each and sprinkle with the chopped mint and parsley. Serve with the hot pastry triangles.