Pea and Parmesan Soup
I'm at a stage in my life when I've got babies on my brain. It's funny, when I was younger I assumed I would already have kids at this age. I had a vague (and in retrospect, hilarious) notion of when I would give birth to my children (with a vaginal, natural, barefoot labour and they'd be easily breastfed and it'd all just be magic) - my first when I was, oh, around 24 years old, another at 26 and then my last at 29...hmm.
I turn 29 in September.
I'm not freaked out by my upcoming birthday, in fact I'm freakin loving this age. My early twenties were studiously spent at University and trialling a few different jobs, figuring out who I was and what I wanted from life. I also lost my brother and boy did that shake things up. Perhaps entirely because of this loss, after my final year of Dietetics Ben and I traveled the world for a glorious nutella crepe-filled year, getting skinny on a backpackers budget and learning to live with each other 24/7. Yes, my twenties have been full and I've really learnt to rock this life of mine. I adore my job, working with clients to improve their diet, health and wellness, and I love our home. I love our creative, intentional and fortunate life. I miss my brother more and more each day (as I let these feelings (finally) in, I realise that while it becomes easier to say his name it doesn't change the fact that I don't get to see his face). But things are pretty great the way they are.
I'm surprised by my nonchalance about immediately starting a family. I thought I'd be all babies babies babies by now but I'm more cooking eating living and I think, I know, this nonchalance comes from the fact that I'm afraid that I won't be able to merge the two. I don't want things to change. And so I'm focussing most of my thoughts on how best to fill and roll cinnamon buns. I suppose I had always just assumed I would be able to get pregnant easily, but that is a priviledge I should not take for granted. So now I feel like Carrie in Sex And The City sitting with Charlotte in the park eating that black and white cookie having the same conversation. Well, not quite.
I wouldn't mind that cookie, though...
At any rate, the distinct lack of babies in our home has been on my mind and, as I know this is indeed something Ben and I want to have, a family of little humans, I have been getting things in order with my body. I talk about this topic in my daily life with everyone and anyone so why not put it out here too? Ladies beware, it can take a long time to get your period back after being on the pill. No, really, a long time. I've been having some acupuncture to try and get my lady hormones flowing again (after initial blood tests and an ultrasound). All is fine, my body has just become lazy. Fabulous. And so I'm presently choking down morning and evening cups of Chinese herbs, whilst glaring at my half Chinese husband, somehow justifying a small portion of blame for this funky brew on his heritage. By golly, they're awful.
This pea soup is far more pleasing.
I created this recipe one grey Sunday after a recent craving for plump peas. We ate our bowls alongside toasted dark rye sourdough with butter, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly and keenly cracked black pepper, feeling very thankful and happy to be cooking, eating, living. But also hoping that one day little ones will request mum's pea soup.
Ok, I just cried.
Maybe my hormones are back...
Pea and Parmesan Soup
Serves 2 (for now)
1/2 small brown onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp olive oil
15g unsalted butter
3 cups homemade chicken broth (or, 2 cups quality commercial stock & 1 cup water - choose a really nice one for best results, it's a worthy splurge!)
3.5 cups frozen peas
1 parmesan rind
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 handful fresh basil leaves Dark Rye Sourdough toast and extra virgin olive oil, to serve
1. In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Gently sautee the onion for 5 minutes until soft, salting lightly immediately and turning down the heat if required to avoid overbrowning. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, until fragrant.
2. Add the stock, parmesan rind and 1/2 cup of the peas and turn the heat up to bring to a boil.
3. Turn the heat down and simmer for ~15 minutes to help develop the parmesan-pea flavour.
4. Add the remaining 3 cups of peas, turn the heat up and cook for ~5 minutes until the peas are nice and tender, but not overcooked. Be careful not to overcook them as you will end up with mushy, dull-coloured peas.
5. Remove from the heat and, using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup mixture until it reaches your desired consistency. I like the majority to be smooth, but with some lumps.
6. Serve into bowls and top with a dollop of creme fraiche, fresh basil and season to taste with freshly cracked black pepper. Dark rye toast is a great accompaniment.