Peter Rabbit's Pea & Lettuce Soup

Often my evenings are spent reading Beatrix Potter and pondering Mr. McGregor’s garden with my little boy. He loves the thought of a rabbit getting lost amongst the lettuces, not quite tall enough to see the garden gate. This soup is wonderfully simple and fresh, lovely for a summer lunch just as it is or, if need be, could be made glamorous with a swirl of cream and crispy bruschetta.

Peter Rabbit's Pea & Lettuce Soup


1 large head lettuce
3 tbsp. salted butter
3 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
400g petit pois, frozen
1.5 litre hot vegetable stock
A small bunch of mint leaves
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. caster sugar


1/ Separate the lettuce leaves and stalks and wash thoroughly to remove any clinging grit. Melt the butter in a large, deep saucepan over a medium heat and add the shallots and garlic.  Gently fry, turning the heat down if necessary.

2/ When they are tender but not brown, chop the lettuce up a bit and stir it into the butter. When it has wilted, tip in the peas, the stock and the mint leaves and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, season with salt, sugar and black pepper and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes.

3/ Remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup in a liquidiser. Carefully return to the pot, check the seasoning and serve in big bowls with warm, buttered bread.


Kooks, Brighton

Dinner out seems a little infrequent in the last few weeks; all those wake up calls, nappies and cries for 'one more story' but just occasionally I think sod it, I need an injection of the bright city, some booze, style and sustenance. 

Resto of choice was Kooks - a new boho bistro bang in the centre of Brighton and is owned by an international DJ/Producer Tim Healey and his wife Rebecca. This is a restaurant of ambition; combining music with food could be a disastrous recipe but Kooks is cool, there's no doubt about it. They serve up a modern English menu accompanied by a bespoke soundtrack of choice tunes from Tim's archived music collection. The record albums and line drawings speak a 'hipster restaurant vibe' but the coloured chairs and bottles of tomato ketchup make one feel at ease, as if sitting in a friend's trendy kitchen. 

An espresso martini (my absolutely, slap bang, unashamedly favourite drink, EVER) kicked off the evening and was a total joy. All that fluff, and coffee beans and velvet caffeine was total perfection. We ate pretty spinach, ricotta and vegetarian parmesan gnocchi with roasted goats cheese (£10.50) and a more manly haddock in batter with twice cooked chips, mint pea puree and tartare sauce' (£13.00), both of which were unafraid of being big, bold dishes. The fish tasted fresh and the chips were enormous, crunchy, soft, hot, perfect... you can tell we love a good tower of chips. We split a deconstructed Eton mess which was so good I did my very best to steal more than my fair share. 

As we were leaving punters from Komedia (two doors down) spilled into the bar for a post comedy cocktail. The vibe as edgy and fun, very Brighton. Check it out.