Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pea Soup

I will never be able to say "pea soup" without hearing the crickets (surely they aren't cockroaches!) from Rescuers Down Under. Despite that, it is one of our favourite recipes.

It's salty, slightly sweet comfort food, and it's easy to make. So I've included it in our cookbook.

However, when I started creating this cookbook more than two years ago, I had almost no experience photographing food, aside from occasional Facebook posts. I didn't appreciate how difficult it is to make a gruel-like, greeny-brown composite look appetizing, especially when my soup bowls are also green.

So this is the picture I originally had in the book.

It's not outright horrible, but if you're trying to entice someone to spend time preparing the recipe, well, that picture has a long way to go.

So when I took on the November challenge of finishing the cookbook, this was one of the first recipes to be marked for a photo re-shoot. Here's one of the new pictures:

Muuuuch better, I think. It's still a greenish, goopy mess, but it looks more like food and less like the paste we used to use in kindergarten.

We usually make this soup after we've had a ham roast. We use the bones to make a delicious broth, and save some of the meat for in the soup (as well as some for garnish).


In your largest soup pot, sauté until soft:
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced or shredded
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
When the vegetables are softened, add:
4-6 cups of broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
16 oz bag of dried peas (rinsed and any stones picked out)
Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very slow simmer. Simmer for 60-90 minutes, until the peas are quite mushy.

Just before serving, use a kitchen hand blender to purée the soup. (If you do this too far ahead, you will have to be very careful that the soup does not burn.)

1 cup leftover cooked ham, diced
Garnish with a few more tidbits of ham or with parsley. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.

Pea soup garnished with tidbits of cooked ham
This is the picture actually used in the cookbook.
Serves about 8 adults.

P.S. Only six more recipes to make for the cookbook! I haven't been sharing every recipe with you, but here are the ones I have left. Are there any for which you would like the recipe or instructions?

  • "Party" Pork Chops
  • Orange-Teriyaki Fish
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Meat Loaf
  • Pasta Primavera
  • Muffled Pup (has nothing to do with dogs)


  1. Love that movie!! that part was great - and yes I always thought they were crickets!
    Food photography is hard! I find it is really all about the lighting. It absolutely has to be just right.

    Party Pork and Pasta Primavera sounds good!

    1. Yup -- the lighting, the colour balance, and the staging. I know some food photographers own specific dishes just for their photo shoots.


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