I do not care what the calendar says. As far as I am concerned, the new year does not start until a good time after February 2nd - usually not until sometime towards the end of March. Truly, how can one feel that they are beginning anew when the world is still trapped under a blanket of snow?

I am a person wholly affected by my surroundings. As I have alluded to before I tend to have strong reactions to changes in the weather. And, like most I’m sure, I tend to eat in response to what’s going on outside my window.

With the grey days of early spring just settling upon us, I find myself eagerly awaiting the bourgeoning brightness of April and May. I have been keeping a steely eye on our neighbour’s lawn and our green grocer’s inventory to see the return of a green palette - in shades of grass, asparagus and pea shoots.

Sadly, I am a bit ahead of Mother Nature, who is still enjoying the last vestiges of her beauty sleep. Today dawned cloudy and cold, with a crisp, howling wind to greet us. It seemed somehow fitting that I turned to my freezer for comfort as I spied a bag of frozen petit pois (small, sweet peas). Even though my landscape is still drab and monochromatic, at least my bowl is filled with the promise of the months to come.

My apologies to any readers outside the Northern Hemisphere for this weather-centric post. Happy autumn to you all!

Spring Pea Soup
This creamy, yet fresh tasting soup is delicious served either hot or chilled. While I wanted a pure, unadulterated pea taste in this soup, herbs would be a natural partner. A few sprigs of mint, chives or flat-leafed parsley could be added while puréeing.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
2 shallots, finely minced
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium if store bought)
1 1/4 cups petit pois (if frozen, defrosted)
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice/sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter into the olive oil. When foaming has subsided, add the shallots. Season with salt and sweat the shallots until translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the petit pois and cook until bright green and just tender. This depends on their size, but should only take a few moments.

Using an upright or immersion blender, purée the soup until very smooth. If using the upright blender, be careful about blending hot liquids - you might want to allow it to cool before attempting. Or, undo the centre of the lid to vent out the steam, covering the hole with a kitchen towel.

Add the lemon juice and cream (if using), season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with additional olive oil for garnish, if desired.

Serves 2 for a light lunch with a salad, or one who's feeling hungry.

• You can play with the aromatics in this recipe. Leeks would be a fine substitution for the shallots.
• Added at the end, a dash of cream or an additional dab of butter to this soup adds a wonderful richness to the finish.