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Gardener's Broth

ingredients

serves 6
40 g (1 1/2 oz) 3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 - 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large leek
225 g (8 oz) Brussels sprouts
125 g (4 1/2 oz) French (green) or runner (string) beans
1.2 litres (2 pints) 5 cups vegetable stock
125 g (4 1/2 oz) 1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 tbsp double (heavy) cream
salt and pepper

melba toast

4 - 6 slices white bread

method

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, but not colour.

2. Slice the white part of the leek very thinly and reserve; slice the remaining leek. Slice the Brussels sprouts and thinly slice the beans.

3. Add the green part of the leeks, the Brussels sprouts and beans to the saucepan. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add the frozen peas, seasoning, lemon juice and coriander and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

5. Cool the soup a little, then press through a strainer or process in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour into a clean pan.

6. Add the reserved slices of leek to the soup, bring back to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the leek is tender. Adjust the seasoning, stir in the cream and reheat gently.

7. To make the melba toast, toast the bread on both sides under a preheated grill (broiler). Cut horizontally through the slices, then toast the uncooked sides until they curl up. Serve immediately with the soup.

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