English garden soup with prawns



  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 1 large banana shallot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthways, seeds scooped out using a teaspoon and discarded, flesh sliced into half-moons
  • Large pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
  • 220g/½lb fresh peas, pods removed (podded weight)
  • 200ml/7fl oz fresh chicken stock
  • 1 soft-leaved round lettuce, core removed, leaves separated, core and leaves chopped
  • 8 large sorrel leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 handfuls cooked North Atlantic prawns, to serve (optional)


  1. Heat the butter in a pan over a low to medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the chopped shallot and garlic and fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, or until softened but not coloured.

  2. Add the sliced cucumber and nutmeg and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Stir well and continue to fry the mixture for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.

  3. Add the peas and stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for 6-8 minutes, adding a little more stock as necessary to prevent the mixture from drying out, until the peas are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

  4. When the mixture has cooled, transfer it to a food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Set aside to cool further.

  5. When the mixture has cooled, add the chopped lettuce leaves and stalk and the chopped sorrel and blend again until smooth.

  6. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in the crème fraîche until well combined, then chill in the fridge until cold.

  7. To serve, ladle the English garden soup into shallow serving bowls. Garnish with the cooked prawns, if using.