Country Vegetable Soup

Wash and prepare the vegetables, trimming and peeling where necessary, and slice them.

Heat the butter or margarine in a large pan and add the vegetables, garlic, bay leaf, and a little salt and pepper.

Stir well, then cover and cook slowly for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Remove the bay leaf. Strain the soup, reserving the liquid.

Coarsely mash or blend half the vegetables. Add to the liquid.

Sieve or liquidize the remaining vegetables until they form a thick puree.

Add to the soup, reheat and taste for seasoning.

Spoon into individual bowls and serve sprinkled with grated cheese, if wished.