Asparagus and chervil soup

Serves four, as served at The Ivy
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Many dishes only require the tips of asparagus, so a good spring asparagus soup is the ideal way to use the rest. Alternatively, this is a nice way of making use of the cheap asparagus you often see on market stalls.

It can be served hot or cold and you could add a spoonful of creamy goat's cheese to it if you wish. As with most soups, it's important not to cook the flavour out of it. The soup should be simmered for only as long it takes for the asparagus to become cooked enough to blend.

2 medium leeks, roughly chopped and washed
500g asparagus with the woody stalk removed, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock (Marigold or a good quality cube)
1 tbsp chopped chervil
1 tbsp double cream or more if you wish

Gently cook the leeks in the olive oil in a covered pan for three to four minutes until soft. Add the asparagus and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, lightly season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus is just soft enough to blend. Blend until smooth in a liquidiser, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt and pepper if necessary. Add the double cream and chervil, bring back to the boil and serve.