Cucumber Soup

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    8–10

Appears in

Set a Table

Set a Table

By Karen Dudley

Published 2018

  • About

In my early days of catering in other people’s homes I remember having to fling together a spontaneous starter. It was like being on MasterChef – but alone – with no one but the unsuspecting dinner guests to understand the masterful soup I managed to create from the bottom drawers of a relative stranger’s fridge! I made a soup very similar to this one. It was the late '90s and I served the soup in pretty teacups I found in one of the cupboards. Sho! Nearly two decades later, I have taken Diana Henry’s lead and added white balsamic vinegar to my '90s staple. This is a classic soup for your repertoire.

Ingredients

  • 800 g cucumber (roughly cucumbers), partially peeled and chopped
  • 80 g (½ cup) walnuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 spring onions, sliced, or ½ red onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp mint leaves, snipped
  • 3 tbsp dill fronds, roughly chopped
  • slices of stale, white country bread, crusts removed and torn
  • ½ cup strong chicken stock
  • cup Greek or double-cream yoghurt
  • 1 cup ice blocks
  • cup olive oil (or more to taste)
  • ½ a lemon, juice and grated rind
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste

To Serve

  • julienned cucumber
  • rose petals (optional)
  • dill fronds
  • small handful walnuts, roughly chopped
  • a few drops of chilli oil
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender or processor. You may need to blitz the ingredients in stages so as not to overwhelm your machine. Because the flavours are delicate you need to taste and adjust the seasoning very carefully; more salt or black pepper or a drop more balsamic (do not even think of adding regular balsamic to this soup, lest you want to ruin its fine colour and flavour! Simply leave it out altogether and the soup will still be delicious!). Finish off the soup with the suggested serving ingredients.