Leek and Potato Soup, and some Sweet Violets

Okay, it’s time to ‘fess up – I’ve just moved into my new garden, and I’m harvesting precisely nothing at the moment except bundles of herbs. In the spirit of optimism, I’ve made leek and potato soup , because i MEAN to harvest lots of lovely fat leeks NEXT year. The recipe is so simple it’s embarassing:

A couple of fat leeks a good 2 tablespoons of butter 3 large potatoes about 1.5litres chicken stock (or water if you don’t have it) a dash of dry vermouth a good handful of parsley salt and pepper


Chop up the leeks and sweat them in the butter for a good ten minutes in a heavy pan until they are soft.

Add the potatoes and cook them in the butter for 5 minutes.

Add the stock or water, the vermouth, salt and pepper bring the whole thing to the boil and allow to simmer for a good 40 minutes or so until the potatoes are really soft.

Allow to cool, add the parsley and then blitz the whole lot in a food processor until you get your desired consistency (sometimes I want velvet, sometimes I want lumpy).

Put the soup back in a saucepan and season to taste (this will need quite a bit of salt).

Eat piping hot with really gorgeous bread and lashings of butter.

Crystalised violets

One thing I am getting in great abundance is sweet violets…I’m crazy for these, and spend probably far too much time kneeling on the wet ground with my nose buried in them. They have the most fabulous scent on their own, but if you smell them on the plant, you get the earthiness of the leaves and soil too, which I love. I shouldn’t have enough time to paint violet petals with egg-white…I don’t know what it says about me…but I do manage to fit it in somehow. Put them, ceremoniously a-top a bought cupcake (or one you made yourself of course)…or treat them as glorious sweeties (they keep for ages in the fridge).


Make sure the flowers are free of aphids, and dip them either whole, or as single petals, into whisked egg-white. Put them carefully on a sheet of greaseproof paper (use tweezers), and shower your little beauties with granulated sugar (caster sugar with dissolve in the egg and you’ll get clumpy petals).

Leave them to dry somewhere out of the way and eat them with other girls (in my experience, boys don’t seem to get how beautiful and special they are, so I don’t offer these to the Hunk – however, you may have altogether better males in your household).