What do you think of cold soups? Some people absolutely rage against them, don’t they? But they can be so good. Gazpacho? CHECK. Aja Blanco? Hells YES. That delicious confection of almonds, raw garlic, extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar, with green grapes halved on top to finish. And of course, vichyssoise, aka wonderful leek and potato soup. We usually eat it hot here, but the tradition in France is to have it cold and it is gorgeous.
It isn’t hot I know, at least it feels cool at 22 deg C with a breeze. My internal thermostat was forever reset by those days early in the summer in the mid 30’s and a few days over 40 in Ottawa in June. Yet, I wanted something cooling, and my friend, who is ill with a poorly intestine did too.
My two cucumber plants are flying and I had a few ready to pick. The idea of a cold cucumber soup was set in my head. I wanted to enrich it with avocado and smoothen it with coconut cream. I decided on veg stock, but chicken would work very well too and make it a little richer. Basil stitches it all together beautifully, along with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil.
I love raw garlic and so I use plenty. 3 fat cloves, punchy and like a heavyweight wrestler holding everything else up. If you are not as fond of garlic you may prefer to cook it first and lend it all a nuttier flavour, but I suggest you try it raw first.
Edible flowers from the garden on top for cheer and flavour. Borage with its cucumber notes works a treat. The light green leaves are lemon basil, I suggest you seek it out and plant it in your garden or stick it in your kitchen. It is wonderful.
Enjoy, and tell me, what are your summer eats?
Summer recipes from the archives that you should try
- *will make 3-4 bowls
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 avocado
- 3 cloves garlic (to taste - reduce if you don't want it so garlicky - I do!)
- 400ml good vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp coconut cream and 1 tbsp per bowl to finish
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- chilli oil to finish (optional, for hot heads like myself)
- sea salt and black pepper
- edible flowers to finish (optional)