Thursday, August 27, 2009

The ubiquitous pea

This week we have mostly been eating peas. We lurch from glut to glut of vegetables, pressing whatever is in abundance on friends, neighbours and family while eating and storing whatever we can ourselves. A large basket of peas have been sitting in the pantry. They have lost their first tender, sweetness but are not yet cannonballs.

Last night Somebody did remember to get the fish out of the freezer - but that same Somebody then put the same fish into the coldest recess of the fridge thus preventing thawing. What to eat?

A quick bit of thinking came up with pea soup and as a penance Somebody was instructed to get busy podding. Podded peas were tossed into a pan with a butter-softened onion. Some sprigs of mint, scraps of bacon and some chicken stock from the freezer were added and it soon cooked up. A whizz in the food processor produced a slightly textured and gorgeously pea-green (of course) soup. Here's the finished product:

How hard it is to make a bowl of pea soup look appetising. Despite my very best endeavours I can only achieve something that looks like a primordial swamp. Looks are deceiving though and this melange of garden peas, a sprig of mint and its garnish of crispy lardons and dollop of crême fraiche was The Business.

We ate well. Soup can be very filling can't it?

The ubiquious pea?

Many years ago I had a part time job as barmaid/waitress in our local pub. Both myself and the pubs owners, while experienced pullers of pints were absolute beginners in the catering business. But never mind, they put together a fine menu featuring the popular dishes of the day - Prawn Cocktail, Soup-of-the-Day, Steak and Chips, Gammon and Chips, Gammon, Egg and Chips, Ham Salad and Chicken Salad. Desserts were the likes of Sherry Trifle and Black Forest Gateau. (You can probably date this work experience from the menu items can't you?) The vegetable - every last serving - was the Garden Pea. I took an order one evening from a very arch lady who asked me what the vegetables were. Perhaps she was hoping for exotica not yet known in north Oxfordshire.

'Peas' I replied.

'Ah', she responded with something of a sneer, 'The Ubiquitous Pea.'

I scurried back to the kitchen with their order. I had a vague idea of the meaning of 'ubiquitous' but Dot, who was doing the cooking, hadn't a clue. We got her daughter's mini-dictionary out, Just To Check. 'Found everywhere' apparently. How we laughed.

Not in any way a particularly amusing tale, more an explaintion of why peas for me will always, each and everyone of them, have the soubriquet 'ubiquitous'.


Wipso said...

Well, they aren't everywhere 'cos we didn't grow any this year. I have memories of being the little blackbird in my Dad's pea row and eating rather too many. They of course fermented in my tummy and made me very sick. Yes the result went everywhere so hmmm ubiquitous?

rachel said...

And pea soup is another very handy vehicle for courgettes - combining two gluts in one food processor!

But my peas were so scant that we simply ate them as they matured, and didn't take a single one home this year.

GeraniumCat said...

The ubiquitous broccoli seems to have replaced the unbiquitous pea these days - it seems to be the mainstay of conference catering, at any rate (I don't eat out much apart from conferences - sad, isn't it?)

Lindsay said...

I love pea soup, as I expect you know you can also make with frozen peas.

Pondside said...

No peas to be found here, except the ones I bought at Costco today. The deer got ours early on......but just wait for next year!

Anonymous said...

We were thinking about growing peas this year as the price of barley has been so low. But we've decided on 2 fields of oil seed rape instead of one.

We love peas in this house, a great easy alternative to peeling veg!

CJ xx

Calico Kate said...

That looks delicious - how I wish we had fared better with the peas, I don't fancy Runner bean soup anywhere near as much as I fancy your pea!

BumbleVee said...

I pretty much had the meaning of ubiquitous in my head...but, now I have to Google soubriquet