I’ve never really been a soup person. I think this stems back to living in shared houses when someone would always make a vegetable soup with all the leftover rubbery carrots and cabbage cores that had been quietly seeing out their final weeks in the salad drawer. This ‘soup’ would always end up too thick – a vegetable sludge – which is down to the fact that everyone, when they first make a soup, thinks that it’s just about sticking everything in a pot and then blending it up. The novice soup maker has no care for the balance of flavours in the soup, nor the consistency of it. We’ve all made that vat of murky brown/green paste and been stuck with it for a week. If you’re a student then it’s preferable to leave it in the fridge for months until the smell is reminiscent of The Bog of Eternal Stench. Finally, someone else throws it away. That involves a combination of forcing down the sink (it’s too solid) and dribbling into the bin (it’s too liquid). I am scarred.
Only certain hot soups are acceptable to me now (tomato, French onion, bisque) but I am very much into most of the cold ones (gazpacho, ajo blanco and all those that fall into the yoghurt category).
This soup uses courgettes, as you’ve probably gathered. It’s light, summery, fresh and cooling. You can warm it gently though if you prefer, particularly since the weather is so unpredictable. A few edible flowers (chives, pansies) on top would look very pretty as a garnish if you have them.
Chilled Courgette and Yoghurt Soup (serves 4-6)
Approx. 1kg courgettes halved, seeds removed and diced
3 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
300ml good chicken stock
3-4 tablespoons whole fat natural yoghurt
Olive oil and chives, to garnish
Sweat the shallots in a little oil until translucent, then add crushed garlic and spices. Cook for a few mins, stirring. Add the courgettes, then cook on a medium heat until softened. Add the stock and cook briefly until it smells awesome. Season with salt and pepper.
Blitz in a food processor (you know the rules here, right? Don’t put too much in at once). Allow to cool, then add the yoghurt. Blitz again, then pass through a sieve. When fully chilled, check the seasoning again, ladle into bowls, garnish with a dribble of olive oil and the chives, snipped. Serve.