Illustration: Zoe More O’Ferrall for the Guardian Soothing, simple, and one of the great author’s last mealsKettle broth is a soothing kind of bread soup that in Hardy’s time was often used to treat the sick – in fact, the author ate a bowlful on the day he died. He liked his with a rasher of bacon, and for it to be made very plain, with just onion, bread, parsley and hot water from the kettle, but other recipes from the time include peas and mint, which make it much tastier.
Gently saute a diced onion in a knob of butter. Tear three slices of wholemeal bread (crusts removed) into small pieces. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add 250ml chicken stock or hot water, and cook, stirring, until it’s the consistency of thin porridge. Season, add a handful of frozen peas, a teaspoon of finely chopped parsley and half a teaspoon of finely chopped mint. Simmer just until the peas are cooked, and serve hot.