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So many of the soup recipes from my old books proclaim to be 'vegetable', but I read on and the list of ingredients include items such as "two pounds of neck of mutton, or a fowl"...
Eventually I found one which required only vegetables and butter, things which I had in the fridge, including a very limp old lettuce and peas from the freezer.
Melt an ounce of butter and put two chopped onions, the peas and the outer leaves of a lettuce or two to stew in a pint of water. Add salt and pepper. Pulp the vegetables but keep the liquor and add to it some more water and the hearts and stalks of the lettuces with spinach leaves cut small. Add more salt and pepper and stew until soft.
In more modern parlance:
Chop two onions and saute them in an ounce of butter. Roughly shred the outer leaves of a couple of old lettuces and add them to the pan. Tip in a bag of peas. Add a pint of water and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Blitz the soup with your hand-held blender, then add the hearts and stalks of the lettuce, along with spinach leaves, season to taste. I added vegetable bouillon and cooked them all together.
I also added a good handful of chopped mint because we like the old mint and pea combination.
The resulting soup was quite thin at first. I let it stand overnight and the next day it had thickened up considerably, the flavour had developed, too.
Reheat and then serve with fresh crusty bread, croutons, dumplings, grated cheese - whatever it is that makes you happy.
This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!
The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.
I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.