Posted by: lialeendertz | March 26, 2012

Success! and green garlic soup

So we did it! Saturday was our first ‘Lia & Juliet’ supper club and we only went and pulled it off. We took an entire two days off work to chop, blanch, braise, bake and crystallise, and to fiddle with table cloths and napkins and champagne glasses, and to fret over whether our allocation of fairy lights was up to supper-club minimum standard (not, we think, as it turns out. We will remedy). It was huge fun, especially for something we could sort of pretend was work. Some of the things we did were a huge hit, others I think less so. We have learnt plenty of lessons and I genuinely can’t wait for the next one (as well as being mighty relieved that we are only doing four a year…).

But in the meantime I thought I’d furnish you with one of our recipes. One of the real hits, rather than one of the near misses: green garlic soup with nettle pesto and pea shoot shot glasses. The idea of the evening was to link it back to the garden at as many points as possible. You can find green garlic in your better class of greengrocer, true, but it is an ingredient you will mostly be able to track down in your own garden, by plucking your garlic before its prime. You lose a lot of the potential bulk that you would have gained in the coming growing season, but you gain a whole other vegetable and a delicate sweet garlic taste, with none of the pungency of the fully formed version. It’s quite a decadent thing to do, you racy thing you, but you might do it as a little spring treat for yourself, if you’ve got plenty growing. (NB: they really are quite small at the moment. You could leave them to bulk up a little and try this in a few weeks time).

To tease out that sweetness I roasted the garlic low and slow, until the outsides were papery and the innards were soft and gooey. Once they’d cooled a bit those papery parts were peeled away to reveal the insides. I love the look of the thwarted cloves-to-be. Beautiful. Into a vat of stock they went with some waxy boiled potatoes, and all whizzed up. Salt and pepper and a bit of single cream and it was done.

For the nettle pesto we blanched some young nettle tips in boiling water for a minute or so (otherwise tingly tongue will be yours) squeezed the water out of them and chopped, before pestling them up with some garlic, toasted hazelnuts, pecorino romano and olive oil. Each guest got their own little shot glass of pea shoots, to graze over and sprinkle onto their soup. The whole thing tasted – if I may say so myself – like spring in a teacup.

Our second will be in the summer sometime, date to be decided, and it will be even better. Interest is high so if you want first dibs on places, get yourself on the mailing list as the date will be announced there first. See you then…

PS You can also follow us on twitter @liaandjuliet


  1. Pestling is my new favourite word – all looks delicious

  2. Like the shot glasses, v nice. Love pea shoots, which, as I said (accidentally) on my first river cottage course, give you a lovely flavour of overwhelming pea-ness

  3. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones to have left over garlic cloves (after the large plump healthy ones have been planted). We pot these leftovers up’ far too close for comfort. Well at least too close together for them to develop into mature heads of garlic. Perfect for your soup recipe. The other bonus is that they are more prone to flowering thus providing another garlic speciality the “scape”.

  4. That sounds like an excellent recipe to have in my armoury,as I can never bear to wait for the garlic to be fully grown.

  5. Looks like it was a great success glad the shot glasses worked

  6. Rosie – thanks. I think it was.

    Mark – showing off again…

    Simon S – Ooh, what a good plan. Will maybe make a row of duffers especially for green garlic next year…

    Claire – Yes, perfect for the impatient.

    Dibnah – The timing was spot on, much more by fluke than judgment.

  7. oh, how wonderful! i love the tiny potted plant to eat up. this is perfect – i am going away and abandoning my garden before the garlic will be mature. i shall try it. x

  8. Food, blah, blah, blah, recipes, blah, blah, blah. What I really want to know about is the crockery adn tablecloth which are GORGEOUS. Almost worth consuming under-ripe garlic for…

  9. love the idea of nettle pesto – will be trying that this week-end, I need to evolve from my wild sorrel and nettle soup staple (which is v good btw)

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