Frozen peas might come number one on my list of favourite vegetables. So accessible, so speedy to cook, so sweetly flavourful, and a brilliant source of protein. At this time of year I rely on them to add freshness when most other green veg is a distant memory. This week, I cooked them with potatoes, lemons and feta to make a family-friendly traybake, and the pea and coconut soup is a go-to, made with things I usually have to hand.
Use a tray large enough that the potato chunks have space on the tray or they won’t cook as evenly. Vegans could use firm tofu in place of the feta – or use neither and it will still be good.
Prep 15 min
Cook 50 min
1kg maris piper potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
2 lemons, seeds removed, cut into quarters
4 garlic cloves
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 pinch Aleppo pepper or Turkish chilli flakes
Salt and black pepper
150g frozen peas
Small bunch soft herbs (I used mint)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/400F/gas 6. Tumble the potatoes on to a 30cm x 40cm baking tray and squeeze over two of the lemon pieces, then toss the rinds into the tray with the rest of the unsqueezed lemons. Add the garlic, thyme and chilli flakes and a generous glug of olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper, toss everything together, and make sure everything is coated with oil.
Break the feta into large chunks and sprinkle it over the potatoes. Drizzle with oil again, then bake for 45 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp and the feta is chewy in the middle and crisp on top.
Remove from the oven, then prepare the peas. Put them in a bowl, pour boiling water over them for 30 seconds, then drain. Sprinkle the peas into the tray and put it back into the oven for another few minutes. Top with the fresh herbs, then drizzle with plenty of extra-virgin olive oil. The lemons have done their work now and will have transferred all their favour to the potatoes, so scoop them out before serving in the middle of the table.
Green pea, lime and coconut soup
When I am hungry, impatient and have nothing in the fridge, this vegan soup is the recipe I turn to. To be really speedy, the pan you use is important; a small, deep saucepan will mean your soup won’t come to a simmer quickly, so I suggest a deep, wide one – cast iron is ideal. If you don’t have spring onions, a normal onion will do fine; you may just need to cook it for a little longer.
Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
1 bunch spring onions
1 tsp coconut oil
1kg frozen peas
1 × 400ml tin coconut milk, reserving a little of the cream, beaten, for drizzling
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder, or ½ stock cube
1 bunch basil or coriander (or a mixture of both)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fill and boil a kettle, and get all your ingredients and equipment together, ready to go. Put a large, shallow soup pan, one that has a lid, over a medium heat to warm it up.
Chop the spring onions quite finely and put into the pan with the coconut oil. Turn up to the highest heat and cook for two minutes, until softened.
Add the peas to the pan with the coconut milk, the stock powder or cube and 750ml boiling water, then cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer, still on a high heat, for two to three minutes.
Remove from the heat. Add most of the herbs, stalks and all, and the juice of the lime, and use a stick blender to blitz the soup until it’s super‑smooth.
Serve ladled into bowls with a little olive oil and the rest of the herbs. Drizzle over the reserved coconut cream and loosely stir through the soup.