Cold Summer Soups

Chilled Beet-Cucumber Yogurt Soup

Serves 2

-- 2 medium beets, boiled, peeled, and cut into cubes

-- ½ cup diced cucumber, seeds removed

-- 1 cup chicken stock

-- ½ cup plain greek yogurt

-- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

-- 2 tablespoons sugar

-- salt and pepper

-- sour cream, for garnish

-- chopped fresh dill, for garnish

Combine first eight ingredients in a blender, blending in two batches if needed; puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill.


Colombian Cream of Avocado Soup 

Normally served warm, cream of avocado soup is equally delicious whizzed up with ice cubes and served straight from the blender. This is a perfect light appetizer or starter for a Mexican or South American meal, or even to go with grilled vegetables or fish.

The traditional recipe calls for cream, chicken stock and butter but I’ve translated this a bit to make it not only quicker, lighter and less hassle, but also vegan. The coconut milk takes this in a completely different direction but I hope you think it is a good one. Use yogurt or lower fat crème fraiche if the coconut milk doesn’t float your boat.

Adapted from 

6 spring onions/scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 perfectly ripe avocados – halved, stone and skin removed, flesh roughly chopped

1 tbsp lime juice, plus more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground cumin (preferably from lightly toasted seeds)

600ml (2 &  3/4 cup)cool light vegetable stock + 5 ice cubes OR 700ml ( 3 & 1/3 cup) stock

250ml (1 cup) coconut milk, coconut yogurt, Greek yogurt, almond milk, lower fat crème fraiche or cream

Good handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, stems too

Chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, shaved fresh coconut, and/or coriander leaves – garnish ideas

  1. Put all but the stock in the blender. Blitz until completely smooth, using a blender, an immersion blender stick or food processor. I used my trusty FroothieOptimum 9400 super-blender and it took just a few seconds.
  2. Remove the stopper on the blender lid and gradually add the stock while the machine is running slowly, then replace the cap and process on high for a few more seconds. It is ready to garnish how you wish (tomatoes are gorgeous), and slurp! Baked tortilla chips or pitta chips would be great, as would these recent panko-crusted baked stuffed courgette blossoms(seen in image).


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