Friday, July 9, 2010

Pea & Ham Soup with Louisa Musgrove

Masterchef I ain't.

And there are many reasons for that...

...But sometimes all you need is a little help.

I have never made Pea and Ham soup before, but I carefully froze the ham bone from Christmas, and had time today to give it a go. Fortunately the packet of split peas had a recipe on the back, which I intended to follow.

The first thing is to take your packet of dried split peas and reconstitute them according to the instructions.

So I carefully washed them and put them into a pot with the appropriate amount of water (3 cups of water for each cup of peas). I got the ham bone out of the freezer to defrost, then left the peas to soak and bone defrost while I had some lunch.

Then I noticed that the difference in cooking time between peas that have soaked over night and peas that are being boiled immediately was all of 10 minutes. So I put them on the stove and brought them to the boil, then reduced the heat to allow them to simmer for 35 minutes.

The pot boiled over - all over the bench and floor.

Then I noticed that the peas were becoming very broken up and suspended in the liquid in a way that made me doubt the wisdom of following the instructions and draining the liquid. I would not have had many actual peas left to make the soup with. So I compromised and put the ham bone, other vegetables and spices in the existing water and went with that.

Having already boiled the pot over, I was wise enough not to leave my pot unattended. I decided that I'd sit and read my book at the dining table and carefully selected the chair at the end of the table that allowed me to see the stove at a glance between paragraphs.

I'm on a bit of a Jane Austen kick this week. I've been sick and haven't felt like reading heavy stuff. I'm in the middle of "Persuasion" and, for those who are familiar with the story, I was coming up to the part when they visit Lyme - lyrical descriptions of the town and surrounding scenery, with the slight anxiety in the back of my mind about the tragic accident coming up.

So I was reading about the swelling of the blue-grey tide watched by the tourists at a time when I should have been paying attention to the inexorable swelling of the green tide from the pot on my stove.

Thankfully Pea and Ham soup is thick enough in consistency to simply run all over the bench. It didn't make it to the floor.

How many thanks do I offer to Louisa Musgrove for claiming my attention at the fatal moment?

... Approximately None!

1 comment:

Hippomanic Jen said...

Do you think this might be the reason that Masterchef contestants don't read books while they're waiting for things to happen?