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Go Green Spring Vegetable Soup

My darling mom - a fellow keen cook - and I speak our own, special language. "I made the roast beef and potato bake from the red book," I'll report when checking in after hosting a Shabbat dinner. "And I made the mushroom soup and bean salad from the yellow book," she's likely to respond. The red book, yellow book, green book, and white book we talk of so frequently refer, of course, to the covers of the 1990's recipe books published by South African doyenne Lynne Bedford Hall. While my stack of cookery books has increased tenfold since then, with the rise of Pinterest and food bloggers offering unlimited culinary inspiration, these now out-of-print classics still remain our most trusted, and most frequently used, recipe archives. This vibrant Spring Vegetable Soup was the very first Lynne Bedford Hall recipe I ever tasted and, more than 30 years after the recipe was published, its delicate taste and silken texture is unrivaled. Go at green and you'll never look back.

2 tablespoons canola oil 1 large onion, chopped 6 sticks celery, chopped 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed 1/2 cup chopped parsley 3 cups parve chicken stock 1 cup milk/soya milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 2 bay leaves Black pepper to taste 1/2 cup cream to serve (optional) 1: Heat the oil, add the onion, celery, potatoes and parsley and saute gently for 5 minutes. 2: Add remaining ingredients, partially cover pot, and simmer gently for 25 minutes till vegetables are soft. 3: Remove bay leaves, blend till completely smooth and gorgeously green, and stir in cream if using. 4: Serve hot or cold which is totally delicious in warmer weather. COOK'S NOTES: Plain soya milk works wonderfully here to make this parve. Add a pinch of sugar if using regular milk which is not necessary with soya milk which is slightly sweet. Try NOT to leave out the requested herbs as they make a difference to this delicately flavored soup. I don't usually serve with cream included but it makes it extra luxurious if you do. Recipe serves approximately 6 and can be easily scaled up.

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