Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cold cucumber and strawberry soup

A refreshing soup in the strawberry season

I had an eye-opening moment this May when I realised that the lunch take-away places had stopped serving soup. I checked out all my regular soup places and sighed my way out shoulders sinking lower at each door. It seemed like all of them had agreed to stop serving soup as of first of May. It slowly sank in it that this must be the normal practice. Soup is served in winter and replaced by green and mixed salads in summer. OK, makes sense.

The thing that didn´t quite make sense was the fact that this year the whole May was an extension of winter. The maximum day temperatures swinging between 8-13 degrees Celsius. Far from the weather that calls for a cooling salad. Moreover, the prepared towers of salad boxes did not seem to be selling as fast as oven warm bread at all. But rules are rules or traditions are traditions. No soup after 1st May regardless of the outside temperatures.

The other thing that didn´t quite make sense for me, an eager soup fan, was a selfish question of what if I wish to eat soup all year round. The answer to that would be to make your own soup or go to a sit-down restaurant as they still serve soups all year round.

I can hear the nutritionists in the West, East and ayurvedic rush to explain that the hot weather requires cold or moderate temperature foods. Fair enough. In summer, there is a place for cold soups.

Gazpacho in Spain, šaltibarščiai Lithuania, cold beetroot and buttermilk soup in Estonia, a chilled cucumber soup or a highlight last summer a cold lemon confit soup at Le Pré Verre in Paris,  all a blessing in the heat. These are just a few that immediately flash through my mind when I think of cold soups.

Ingredients for the cucumber-strawberry soup

Cold cucumber and strawberry soup
Strawberries go well with black pepper and peppermint and let combine in a savoury dish equally gracefully.

Ingredients for 2 portions or 6 small appetisers
half a long salad cucumber, peeled and cut into small pieces
250g fresh strawberries, green tops removed, cut into small pieces
1-2dl tomato passata or any tomato sauce a nature
1 small clove of fresh garlic, chrushed
a small bunch of fresh thyme, finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh Moroccan peppermint leaves, finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
black pepper
1 tsp sugar
extra virgin olive oil

Mix the cucumbers and strawberries with herbs and seasonings
Mix the cucumber and strawberry pieces with the tomato sauce, garlic, thyme, peppermint,  salt, black pepper, sugar and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Purée in a blender or with a hand mixer until smooth.
Taste for salt, sweetness and spice and ajust if necessary.
Keep refrigerated until serving. Serve with some extra virgin olive oil sprinkled on top.

The soup has low calories, however does fill the stomach quite well.

Cold soup of cucumber and strawberry served as a small appetizer