The Daily Spud

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Frosty The Freezer

It was a simple choice: eat my words or eat the contents of my freezer.

What happened, you see, was that Love Food magazine, published with yesterday’s Irish Independent, had included a little piece from me on tips for Christmas (ah, yes, fame at last! – even if it did miss out on my current top tip, which is to head over here for a shot at a free box of Tayto crisps).

Love Food Magazine with Christmas tips from The Daily Spud

Exciting indeed to see my words in actual newsprint but, having urged everyone in the country to fill their freezers with mince pies and the like, I had a weeny problem on that front myself. My freezer bore one of those looks that said “defrost me now, or else…”.

I had been trying vaguely attempting to clear the freezer for months now. No sooner had one lot of frozen comestibles been used up, than another magically appeared to take its place. At times it felt like hell might freeze over before the plug got pulled on my own frozen-over fridge.

However, knowing that the deed had to be done before I loaded up with Christmas fare, I bit the bullet and, for about a week, dined on whatever the freezer had to offer. This pea and mint soup, brought to you by a bag of frozen peas, some frozen chickpea stock and frozen ginger, was definitely one of the better things to result.

Please Defrost Me Pea and Mint Soup

You should remind me to make this again, sometime when it doesn’t also involve defrosting the freezer.

It is, of course, a variant of a classic soup – why even Mrs Beeton includes a pea and mint soup in her Book of Household Management, dating back to 1861. For stock, I actually used water saved from cooking chickpeas (I often reserve and freeze liquid in which I’ve boiled veg or beans as the basis for future soups and gravies).

Pea And Mint Soup

You’ll need:
  • oil for frying
  • 1 small red onion, about 100g, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, about 50g, finely sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh (or frozen) ginger
  • 1 small-ish potato, about 150g, cut into roughly 1cm cubes
  • about 600ml water or light veg stock (I used water saved from cooking chickpeas)
  • 350g frozen peas (or fresh peas, shelled)
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste (less if stock is well salted)
  • 4 tblsp loosely packed chopped mint
You’ll also need:
  • A blender or food processor for blending the soup – an immersion blender, if you have one, is the handiest.
The Steps:
  • Place a large, heavy saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add a couple of tblsp of oil to coat the bottom of the saucepan. Add the onion and celery. Stir and fry for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion has softened.
  • Add the garlic and ginger. Stir and fry for about another minute.
  • Add the potatoes. Stir to combine and add the stock or water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  • Add the peas and bring back to a boil. Simmer until the peas are cooked through. This may only take a couple of minutes (I found that by the time the frozen peas had come back to the boil, they only needed about 2 minutes more). Add salt to taste.
  • Add the mint, stir through. Remove from the heat and puree using a blender. Reheat gently if needed.
  • Serve with a blob of yoghurt or sour cream and garnish with more mint if you like.
The Variations:
  • You could raise the heat level of the soup by adding more ginger and/or some fresh green chili.
The Results:
  • Soup for 3-4

16 Comments

  1. How cool, I felt that way when my food poetry hit the radio waves, and then every other Monday again! I love pea soup and have yet to make it in years. I have to re-arrange my freezer often, due to ‘lack of’ space… Beautiful pic! as always…

  2. Lovely green color! I’ve got the world’s teeniest freezer, well maybe not the world’s smallest, but you know us Americans with giant freezers and extra freezers in the garage, makes a small London city freezer seem mighty small. I’ve just checked my freezer – it has one frozen burrito and two peeled ripe bananas.
    Agreed, immersion blenders are the handiest! And also very good tip about saving veg water…I save my meat bones for stock, but never thought to save water from veg cooking.

  3. Why does my defrost me please soup never look this appetizing? I’m in the the process of moving and going through a defrost and looking at the stuff that got hidden in the back of the freezer – that is some dried out stuff! No fun, but soon all will be good with fresh veggies and hopefully batches of sausage rolls and mincemeat pies!

  4. This soup looks and sounds wonderful! My first time coming across a recipe like it. Congrats on fame : )!

  5. Lovely soup. I’m liking the color of it a lot. I’m currently in a soup phase, I think this is one I should add to my soup menu.

    I look in my freezer every week and it’s like I close the door and something else magically appears in there. Sneaky things freezers are. Congrats on getting printed!!

  6. lucy: and it’s yummy in the tummy too :)

    Caroline: Thanks! I think defrosting probably requires a certain favourable alignment of the stars betimes :D

    Chef E: thanks – I can only imagine how cool it is to hear your food poetry on the airwaves every other week :)

    gastroanthropologist: there is indeed a big difference between your average amount of US freezer space and what you’re likely to have in a London city apartment; my own fridge/freezer isn’t all that huge (though it fits more than a burrito and 2 bananas :) ) and I’d actually love to have more freezer space myself (though that would make defrosting an even more unlikely and torturous event!)

    OysterCulture: ah yes, there are always some surprises lurking at the back of the freezer :) Good luck with your move, hope you’ll be back in cooking action soon!

    Cookbook Apprentice: Welcome and thanks for dropping in! And if you haven’t met pea and mint soup before, you’re in for a treat :)

    jenn: freezers are sneaky things, I’m convinced of it :D – and pea soup is a good one to add to your menu, pretty quick to cook and comes up fabulously green

  7. Wow–you’re in print. Like “real” print; not pixel print! Go, you!

    I love your soup–that’s making the proverbial silk purse out of a sow’s ear:)

    Right now, my freezer would yield some sort of watery chicken (bone) frozen vegetable soup flavored with frozen ginger and garnished with some freezer-burned ice cream sammiches. I beg to Avoid the Freezer Challenge for the time being! ;)

  8. Well done you on the indo article!

    Now I must admit to not liking wither fresh mint or peas so the soup is doing nothing for me … yes I know who weird!

    However, I didn’t know I could freeze ginger … like root ginger? Just pop it in a freezer bag and that’s it? Nice.

  9. Daily Spud

    Friday, December 11, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Jenni: I know, real, non-pixel print, and not just ‘cos I went to the printer and printed out a blog post :D And given the description of your freezer-soup-with-ice-cream-sammiches, you are hereby granted a stay of execution on the Freezer Challenge – I think it’s in the best interests of everyone involved!

    Gillian: Thanks! It’s ok not to like peas and mint – each to their own – but does that mean that mint + chocolate is a no-no for you or just certain incarnations of mint? On freezing ginger, it was a happy day when I discovered you could do that (I usually peel the ginger, cut into around 1 inch chunks and freeze like that – you can take it directly from the freezer and grate)

  10. Me no like mint – the herb. Me love mint – the pepper.

  11. How wonderful that you’re in print! Congrats! Lovely pea soup with mint, I would love to try it with the addition of ginger!

  12. Congratulations on your piece in LoveFood magazine! Though it failed to mention your Mr. Tayto contest, at least your URL is correct. I was thrilled to learn that a local online food editor mentioned my blog in a print interview, only to find that the article printed my URL all wrong. Bummer.

    We’re getting ready to head out of town for vacation so I put the kibbosh on buying any new food so that we could finish as much as possible in the fridge. I don’t have any frozen peas but you’ve encouraged me to check my freezer to see what I might concoct!

  13. I am also a big fan of freezing stuff and have the same problem with never having enough space. The washing machine always makes one sock disappear, but the freezer seems to add things! Have you any experience with freezing potatoes? If I want to freeze chips, do I slice them and freeze them or does one have to blanche or fry them first? Thanks!

  14. Gillian: ah, gotcha!

    Natasha: thanks, it’s very gratifying to see my words in print :) And do try the ginger with the peas and mint, it’s a nice addition.

    Tangled Noodle: well, congrats on being mentioned in a print review but bummer indeed that they got the URL all wrong – no easy way to update that when it’s in actual print :( Good luck with exploring your freezer and (of course) happy travels!

    Crystal: Welcome and thanks for stopping by! I know what you mean about washing machines (have you checked the freezer for the missing socks? :D )
    Re: freezing chips, to be honest, I don’t freeze either raw or partially cooked chips. If I were going to try it, though, I would certainly fry them first (with raw chips, unless you have some way of sealing them in a vacuum, they’re likely to be subject to oxidation and turn brown; also, some of the potato starches will convert to sugars, which will cause fries to darken during cooking). Chips that have had an initial round of frying are probably a better bet for freezing, though they are likely to absorb more oil than freshly fried chips, as the freezing will create a lot of little fissures in the surface of the chips.

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