Skip to main content

Fog in the morning, pea soup at night.

The first fog of the season hung low and damp over the city. But not for long. This autumn's eternal sunshine broke through by 10 o'clock for another perfect day in Melbourne.

It's the time of year when, after the sun goes down around five-thirty, you can still feel the earth giving off the retained warmth of the day; but then, as you walk through the gardens, a cold mist steals in from somewhere like a ghost without a home and reminds you that winter is on its way.

And you think 'soup'.

Pea and ham soup for a foggy night.

It's the easiest. Get some bacon bones from your butcher or deli. Soak some peas - I used green split peas - overnight, changing the water once or twice.

Then drain them, throw them in your biggest pot with the bacon bones, a couple of chopped carrots, a chopped onion, a couple of sticks of chopped celery, a bay leaf and some pepper. Salt? The bacon bones may be salty enough. Cover the lot with water and away you go.

Cook for two or three hours. Make sure it doesn't stick.

If the soup is thin enough, you can add quartered peeled potatoes about halfway, if you so desire. They should almost melt, but not quite.

This soup produces the most wonderful aroma. Cook it up through the afternoon and you might have the neighbours come visiting.


Some remove the bones and return any meat to the pot.

When I was a kid, pea and ham soup was a staple. Through the 1960s, my mother must have gone through truckloads of split peas. For the soup, she used to get the long rib bacon bones. She left them in the pot. After having the soup, we used to chew the bacon bones and suck all the yummy goodness out. Disgusting but delicious.