Archive recipe: Westmorland Lovage Soup

Westmorland Lovage Soup

First published: August 2018

The exterior of The Thornhill Arms, located in Yorkshire's Calverley

You never know which way the weather’s going to turn in September, as we approach the ‘back end’ of the year. This lovely old fashioned recipe, based on a Westmorland original, is fantastic hot or chilled, however the weather turns out.

Soothing, yet invigorating, it’s creamy but with no need of actual cream. Adjust lovage quantities to taste: as a guide, it tastes twice as strong as celery.

A valued member of many an old-fashioned Lakeland herb garden, lovage is a bit of a one-off, the sole species in its particular family. It loves the moist local conditions and makes itself right at home. Aromatic and slightly medicinal, its strong distinctive flavour combines hints of celery, parsley and angelica

Ingredients, Serves 3–4

  • 1 kilo (just over 2lb) potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3–4 young lovage stalks 1 tablespoon each butter and oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3–4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black and ground white pepper
  • 1 gel vegetable stock pot (or favourite stock-cube)
  • Small handful young lovage leaves, chopped


  • Bring the potatoes to boil in pan with water to cover, and simmer them with lovage stalks until they’re tender. Drain, reserving the cooking water. Discard the lovage stalks.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a deep pan. Fry the onions slowly until soft: add garlic towards the end of the cooking time. Stir in the gel stock pot or a crumbled cube.
  • Stir in the drained potatoes, season and add the lovage leaves.
  • Transfer to a blender or food processor with a little cooking liquid and process the mixture until smooth. Add more liquid as necessary. Return to the washed pan and simmer for between five and ten minutes.


Feeling a bit hot in the foot department? Pop lovage leaves in your garden wellies or walking boots. In ancient times, weary travellers slipped deodorising lovage leaves into their shoes to keep them cool and comfortable. In common with many herbs, avoid during pregnancy of if you have any kidney problems.


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