Mid September and summer is gently fading, those delicate summer flowers will all too soon be replaced by the fieriness of Autumn, damp woods, leaves of every imaginable shade of gold, a chill in the air and a heading for comfort food and warm fires. But while this may be coming soon there are still flowers in my garden and a little sunshine in the air. My nasturtiums are in full bloom pulsating with colour and filling the air with their sharp spicy scent.
I love using nasturtiums in the kitchen and what could be better than serving them up in the form of this delightful nasturtium soup which can be served either hot or cold depending on the weather.
I’ve always loved nasturtiums though I have to admit that when I was a little girl my friends and I didn’t have a great experience with them. Our neighbours had masses of them in their front garden, a total blaze of glorious colour. We would pinch them to brighten up our den and when we learned that they were edible flowers we of course had to sample them. Not content with a mere nibble of the petals we went in there with gusto and tried to eat handfuls of the things, leaves, petals, stalks and all. Needless to say the sharp pepperiness brought us up short and we almost choked on our plundered bounty.
I never ate another nasturtium till I was in my twenties and had a tad more sense than to eat them by the handful.
Now I use them in all sorts of things, check out my recipe for nasturtium hot sauce which I make every year and use instead of traditional tabasco.
Like all the soups I make this is quick and easy to rustle up and looks so pretty it’ll make you smile before you even taste it. It is perfect for a supper party jazzed up with a few flowers around the bowls (or glasses if you want to serve it chilled) and some petals and leaves finely chopped and scattered on top as a garnish.
Although pale and delicate in colour this is a punchy little number with quite a kick to it, so taste it as you go along and adjust seasoning as necessary.
This recipe is for 2 servings so just expand it to fit the numbers you need it for. I’ve used a cos lettuce (also known as Romaine) which has a good flavour, you could also use iceberg lettuce if you prefer but stay away from the darker stronger flavoured varieties and let those nasturtiums sing!
- 1 head of cos/romaine lettuce
- 25g/1oz nasturtium flowers and leaves
- 25g/1oz butter
- 1 stick celery chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 500ml/1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 potato peeled and chopped
- 100ml/3½ fl oz almond milk (or other milk of choice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra flowers and pettals chopped finely to garnish
- Chop the lettuce and nasturtiums and set aside.
- Melt butter in a pan and cook the onion and celery for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped lettuce, nasturtiums, potato and stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Whazz with a stick blender and add the milk and seasoning.
- Serve either hot or cold and garnished with finely chopped nasturtium flowers and petals on top.