From Elizabeth David on Vegetables, Quadrille Publishing, 2013.
Elizabeth David is one of the legends of cooking. She managed to change the cooking habits of Britain with her books and her articles largely based on the cuisine of European mainland. She wrote beautifully and even her recipes maintain her style, writing as though she is instructing rather than just given directions. This book is a collection of her recipes gathered together to celebrate the centenary of her birth. Interspersed among the recipes are some of her essays that are a pleasure to read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the essay on the uselessness of garlic presses in which, as well, she expresses the thought that vegetable soups can be spoiled by stocks, and using water is better as it allows one to properly enjoy the flavours of the vegetables. After reading that I wanted to try one of her soup recipes.
In a saucepan I browned a sliced onion in some olive oil. While it browned I chopped half a carrot and a small potato, peeled 2 large tomatoes and chopped them, diced a zucchini, sliced some mint leaves and picked off the leaves of some watercress. These were added to the saucepan for a minute or two. Then a litre of water was added together with some French beans cut into 5cm lengths. The soup was now simmered until the vegetables were cooked.
Meanwhile the leaves of a bunch of parsley were placed in a mortar with a peeled garlic clove. They were pounded into a paste. Just prior to the soup being served, the garlic paste was stirred in.
This was quite a delicate soup despite all the ingredients and, as David had commented, the vegetables could be enjoyed almost individually. I had been tasting the soup during the cooking and had found it to be rather bland but the addition of the parsley paste soon altered that.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔