A real favourite of Nina’s at this time of year is cold cucumber soup. The cucumbers have responded to the heat and our regular watering and are starting to produce in excess of what we can eat fresh in salads.
Nina doesn’t have a recipe as such, it’s really just a way of thinking about using up cucumbers. It’s cooling and soothing and a little bit tangy, and you get to use up a lot of cucumbers.
You can use half a dozen small, or 3 large cucumbers. Peeled and seeded if they are older and larger, but all in as they come if they are young.
She starts with one of our red onions from the plait hanging in the kitchen, but you could also use a mild white one. You can add green spring onion tops finely chopped too if you like. Add as much as you like the taste of. (and never end a sentence with a preposition! )
A big bunch of cilantro or coriander leaves finely chopped. The first spring planting of coriander is bolting away to seed heads just now, but there is enough to pick from it and the new, young seedlings of the second planting are only just emerging.
Add a small bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped.Then add a couple of cloves of garlic, or six! depending on their relative strength and your taste expectations. I really love the stuff, so she puts in a lot. It tastes better, i.e. stronger flavour if you smash it with the side of a knife or extrude it through a garlic press. The mashed fibres give off more flavour. I think that the fresh raw garlic really makes this soup. That and the coriander. The cucumbers are really there just to fill it out. Next, add some finely chopped chilli to taste and although I don’t use salt, if you want it, add it to the degree that you want your arteries hardened. Go for it!
Add the Juice of a lemon or preferably a lime – or two.
Put the whole lot in the blender with half a tin of coconut milk. If you don’t have a blender use a food processor, if you don’t have electricity, use a hand whisk! Add a couple of spoonfuls of plain greek yoghurt, if you don’t have greek yoghurt, add some Turkish – that’s close enough! Use what you have that seems right, taste as you go to check. Sometime we use sour cream, just to use it up if it’s open and that’s what you have in the fridge. You can use a blend of all three. Use what you have. Experiment! If you don’t have a fridge, eat it warm, but it’s not quite the same. Cold is better in this hot weather.
You can serve it with a little bit of olive oil on top and some paprika sprinkled on, or just plain.
Janine mixes up and alters the recipe each time she makes it to keep it lively and interesting, sometimes adding chopped dill, parsley or tarragon leaves. Sometimes with only yoghurt and other times with just coconut milk. It works just the same.
It’s always different and always delicious. A perfect soup for a hot summers day. Nina has made this fantastic soup to cheer me up as I’ve managed to hurt myself during the day.
Take 3 or 4 zucchinis, depending on size, 1 potato for a little filling and binding starch and a small white onion. Grate them all into a big bowl, add a handful of flour and 2 eggs, some pepper and whatever herbs that you prefer. Today Nina adds Thai basil, parsley and a small amount of mint. Mix it all together in the bowl, then press off any excess juice. She pan frys them in a little olive oil. We have them with cucumbers in yoghurt and a few sliced fresh tomatoes. Delicious.
The next morning, my finger is not red or throbbing, so I have done a good job of cleaning it. I’m confident that it will heal well now. No need to go to hospital. I just can’t use that hand to grip anything for a while.
An enforced day off. Something rare for me.