I haven’t been feeling very well recently so haven’t been cooking. Today I started again with something very gentle, almost medicinal, a really tasty courgette and sweetcorn soup. Both main ingredients are reasonably delicate and result in quite a creamy soup which is a pleasure to eat and perfect for tender tums. It’s also seasonal so the ingredients are at their best having grown naturally. I have a really lovely book which I have had for over 10 years and which has travelled with me from Ireland to London and through my many house moves since – The Kitchen Pharmacy by Rose Eliott & Carlo de Pauli. Both authors have great credentials, Rose Eliot is a renowned vegetarian food writer and Carol de Pauli is the Principal of the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine & Aromatherapy and the Director of the British and European Osteopathic Association. Their book associates specific foods with ailments and offers recipes for these which if nothing else provide comfort. You are what you eat, a cliché but so true. For a few years, if this were explicitly true, I was in danger of turning into a bag of crisps!
Having already decided to buy a big bag of courgettes at the market I decided I’d take a look at the Kitchen Pharmacy and see how courgettes might benefit me and, sure enough, they have cooling, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties in your intestine which makes perfect sense considering that I am recovering from a nasty intestinal infection. Your body does remember foods and other ingested items and what it likes and it doesn’t like. I think my poor tum remembered how nice courgettes were to it before and requested them. Incidentally, this is why, sometimes when something doesn’t agree with you you find out the second time you eat it not the first. I was once a physiologist (I have a degree in physiology) and know this to be true but to my shame the precise scientific detail escapes me now.
Back to the soup! So, I bought alot of courgettes (my stomach must really be screaming out for them), 8 round green ones. The round ones aren’t available all that often so I snapped them up when I saw them. Still, it’s a bit extreme! I used 2 for this recipe so there will be more courgette recipes coming your way. I used 2 corn on the cob also. I weighed them and by purechanc they weighed the same but this is fairly fluid, it’s approximately half courgette and half corn in the recipe. For the stock you can use vegetable or chicken, chicken soup has a healing reputation (it’s called jewish penicillin!) since ancient times and there’s now apparant scientific evidence to support this, so, if you’re not vegetarian and aren’t feeling well, put the chicken stock in. You’ve nothing to lose and it will taste very good (particularly if it’s homemade, just boil a leftover carcass with the giblets in some water for a while and strain).
350g Corn on the cob, weighed before taking the corn off the cob (approx 2 whole corn on the cob )
350g Courgette (Zucchini)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
50g split red lentils
1l chicken or vegetable stock
30 ml cream (optional)
S & P
Remove the corn from the cob by removing firstly the outer husks then standing it vertically on a chopping board and running a knife down each side where the corn is attached to the cob.
Halve the courgettes if they’re long ones or quarter if they’re round, then slice.
You don’t have to do this but it does intensify the sweetcorn flavour. If you have time bring the stock to the boil and add the cobs (corn removed). Simmer for half an hour or so, remove the cobs and strain through a sieve.
Sauté the onion in some oil in a pot over a medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes without burning.
Add the courgettes and sauté for 5 minutes or so, this intenesifies the courgette flavour.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the corn, bay leaf and lentils and cook for 15 minutes or so.
Remove the bay leaf and add the cream if using.
Season to taste with fresh ground S & P.
Blend with a blender. I like to keep it a little chunky so don’t blend it thoroughly.
Vegetarians: omit the chicken stock, use veg stock.
Vegans: omit the cream.
Lactose intolerants: omit the cream or use goats cream if you can get it (in the UK it’s available at Waitrose).