Packed full of healthy green veg and vitamins and perked up with a dash of apple juice, this soup should help keep the doctor at bay.
The addition of the uncooked rocket whizzed in at the end is an idea from the Guardian’s Rachel Roddy – it adds a really fresh fillip to the soup.
The basil oil is optional, but again, gives fabulous flavour. Any leftover basil oil is good trickled over salads or risottos.
6 tsbp oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 head of broccoli, trimmed, stems finely sliced, florets broken small
200g peas, defrosted if frozen
160g spinach, washed and dried
85g watercress, washed and dried
850 ml good quality vegetable stock
150 ml dry apple juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
For the basil oil:
A large bunch of basil, leaves picked
200 ml olive oil
Pinch of salt
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and fry the onions with a pinch of salt until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry one minute more. Now stir in the broccoli, peas and spinach and cook gently until the spinach has wilted.
Add the stock and apple juice, bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, until the broccoli is soft enough to squash against the side of the pan. Whizz using an immersion blender. Check the seasoning, add salt and black pepper, to taste.
While the vegetables are cooking, blend the rocket with the remaining 4tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt until smooth. Add to the soup at the last minute.
For the basil oil, blanch the leaves in a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds, then plunge immediately into a bowl of iced water to retain the colour. Drain well, then blend with the olive oil and salt. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to produce a bright green oil. Don’t waste the basil puree left in the sieve, stir that into the soup too!
Thin the soup, if required, with a little more stock or water. Serve drizzled with basil oil and, if you like, a dollop of crème fraiche or vegan yoghurt.