​Pea and spinach soup

This is a refreshing and surprisingly filling cold soup. Not completely raw as the peas are always blanched before being frozen, but it’s certainly got a raw spirit.

Serves 3–4
* 400g frozen peas or petits pois
* juice of 1 lemon
* ½ ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
* 2 good handfuls (75g) of spinach leaves (baby leaf or larger), well washed
* ½ a green chilli, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
* leaves from a few sprigs of mint
* sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* extra virgin hempseed or rapeseed oil, to finish (optional)
 
Method
1. If you are using a high-powered blender, you can add the peas pretty much straight from the freezer: just rinse them in a sieve under cold water until their frostiness has gone. If your blender is of the conventional type, put the peas in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes to soften them but keep them cold, then drain.
 
2. Place all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the juice of half the lemon, then adding the avocado, spinach, chilli, mint and peas. If you’re using baby leaf spinach, you can just chuck it all straight into the blender; if you’re using more mature leaf spinach, strip out the fibrous stalks first.
 
3. Add a decent pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper, along with 300ml cold water, then blitz the soup until smooth. You may need to stop once or twice and give the contents a stir to help it all mix and blend.
 
4. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper and lemon juice as necessary. Add a little more water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Blend again to mix well after any additions.
 
5. Serve straight away (the peas should have chilled the soup nicely) or put it into the fridge until serving, making sure you give it a stir before pouring into bowls. Finish with a swirl of extra virgin oil if you like. 
 
Variation
Add coconut water – the thin, clear liquid from inside a coconut – instead of plain water to give this soup a slightly richer, sweeter flavour. You can buy coconut water in cartons – or get it from a couple of freshly cracked coconuts.

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Extract taken from River Cottage Light & Easy, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, published by Bloomsbury, £25.00, Hardback. Photography © Simon Wheeler 


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