What could be a better beginning to Easter dinner than this soup? Fresh, vibrant, richly comforting, delicately tempting, it sets one up either for the lamb or fish to follow. Enjoy, & happy Easter!
Place cream, parsley and rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a medium soup pot or casserole, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. Pour off the fat in the pot.
In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, celery, onion, leek and sugar snap peas and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock, 4 slices of the cooked bacon and the salt and white pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add the thawed baby peas. Continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes total. Discard the bacon.
Remove the rosemary sprigs and bring the cream and parsley leaves to a boil. Add the rosemary-infused cream to the soup and boil hard for a further 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Using a hand blender if you have one, liquefy the soup. Otherwise, carefully transfer to a blender and blend only until smooth, in batches if you need to. Adjust seasonings.
Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with extra cream, or a few drops of olive or other scented oil. Crumble the remaining 4 slices of bacon into each bowl and serve.