Cucumber Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ pt / 280 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • ½ pt / 280 ml full-cream milk
  • 7 fl oz / 200 ml single or (double) cream, depending on how rich a soup you want
  • salt
  • freshly ground white pepper

Method

Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways, and remove the seeds. Roughly chop. Peel and thinly slice the onion, and cook gently in a large saucepan with a little of the chicken or vegetable stock until soft. Add the cucumber pieces, the rest of the stock, the bay leaf and parsley, and cook for 10–12 minutes. Put in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool, stir in the milk and cream, and then chill until required. Season to taste just before serving.

Variations

Tomato soup can be made in the same way, substituting 1 lb / 455 g ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped, for the cucumber.

A creamy avocado soup can be made by replacing the cucumber with the flesh of 2 large ripe avocados, but use single cream or milk instead of double cream, or the soup will be too rich. Make at the last minute, so that the avocado does not have time to discolour.

To prepare a delicious and unusual cucumber, prawn and buttermilk soup, simply put the peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped cucumber in a blender or food processor with 1 pt / 570 ml buttermilk, ½ pt / 280 ml semi-skimmed milk, ½ pt / 280 ml peeled prawns and a little fresh dill, basil or coriander leaf, and blend until smooth. Chill, season to taste, stir in a handful of whole peeled prawns and serve. For an oriental version of this, use coconut milk, coriander, mint or basil and a little grated fresh ginger and lime zest.

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