I left England in April with a well behaved herb garden. I returned to Bristol in May to find that all my plants had prospered but that the parsley was completely out of control. What had been a pleasant little plant was now more than 1 yard long and 1 yard wide. The true horror of its expansionism could only be appreciated from above. The poor lavender bush had almost been swamped.
Part one of my solution was to transfer the lavender bush to a patch vacated by a failed attempt to grow a raspberry bush. It had started to sprout but in my absence someone had snapped off its small branches and I feared the game was up. The lavender bush appreciated its move and is now thriving.
But still the parsley grew. By my calculations at current rates of growth it would have covered the entire garden by late August and by 2017 it would have headed off down the A4 and be approaching the outskirts of Bath. And so yesterday afternoon the Mrs was demanding a romantic supper and so I took the scissors to the parsley and put a quarter of it in the pot.
Parsley Soup is a pretty simple recipe. Blanche the parsley (I guess that I had about 50 stems). Heat one onion in butter in the main pot. Add in three quarters of the parsley water post blanching and 1 pint of chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you prefer rabbit food) and 3 large potatoes chopped into bits.
Heat the main soup until the potatoes are soft and then liquidize. Liquidise the parsley (stalks and all with 4 cloves of garlic in that blending) and add that in and stir as you continue heating. Meanwhile fry until crisp a pack of bacon cut into small half inch square bits. Add the bacon to the soup which should be a deep green and add in to taste: ½ teaspoon of salt, a twist or two of cayenne pepper, a splash of white wine vinegar and a twist or two of dill.
I served with brown bread toasted and lightly rubbed down with some olive oil I had infused with garlic. The parsley and bacon soup with the heavy garlic hint should sort of remind you of easting snails in France. The green colouring is pretty amazing, the taste was pretty good (if I say so myself) and with the parsley in for free the cost of a main meal for two (with enough soup left for the Mrs to have lunch tomorrow) was less than £3.50.
At current rates of growth this could well become a regular feature of the diet for the Mrs and I.