… wow, what a crazy few days of glorious sunshine. It’s like the summer ended but then thought to itself ‘hang on a minute, I forgot something here…’ pulled up its socks and got to work. Westminster Council, in their infinite wisdom, tells us to try to avoid going out in the sun between 11am and 3pm today – thank you… oh but here I am banging on about the great British weather when all anyone really cares about today is the start of the Great British Bake-Off which kicks off on British television this evening. They always look like a funny bunch of folk and you never quite know who to route for but once the show kicks off you soon get to learn about their quirks and personalities. From first glance I really like the look of Michael who has had to make-do and mend with his baking techniques whilst at University, which I can really relate too. I think the show has the danger of slipping into too ‘professional’ territory if it’s not careful, as people become more savvy with their techniques and cooking equipment becomes more sophisticated and I don’t think this is what home-baking is about. I love the show when things go wrong as well as when things go right. It makes for more interesting baking… and over-coming adversity is a very British trait after all…
I guess the bakers are lucky the show was all filmed earlier in the year before this ridiculous heat came into play. Now that would have been tricky!… maybe a cool bowl of my chilled soup would help…
chilled summer salad soup
the trick to getting this right is that you can add all the salad vegetables you like but you need to try and not let one thing dominate, so if you’re adding peas and rocket like I have, don’t go overboard or else they’ll take over in the taste stakes and you want to avoid this and get a fine balance of salad flavour. Fresh, green herbs are essential as are plenty of salt and pepper to bring out the flavours… it’s a celebration of summer really and a great way to use up any last bits of salad items that may be going a bit limp in the salad drawer. I’m a bit of an impulsive tomato purchaser… The Viking has a go at me every time I put tomatoes in the shopping basket but I adore them in all their various guises and I can’t help buying new varieties or sad, lonely tomatoes that look like they should have been purchased weeks ago… this soup is a great way to use them up…
i’ve made a small little pot of soup for two but feel free to double the recipe depending on what you have and how many you’re feeding…
3 medium red tomatoes – sliced into 3
salt and pepper
4 stalks of spring onion – finely chopped
2 large stalks of celery – chopped
half a fennel bulb – chopped
3 bulbs of garlic crushed with salt and a little fresh rosemary
50g frozen petit pois
25g (a handful) of salad rocket
1 head of gem lettuce – chopped
3/4 litre good quality vegetable stock
radish and avocado to garnish
heat a little olive oil in a medium pan and throw in the spring onion, celery and fennel. Turn the heat to medium, season well with salt and pepper and plenty of fresh herbs and let them sizzle for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, stir and let them all sizzle for 5 minutes more.
turn the heat to low, pop a lid on and let the veg sweat for a further 5 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables and the stock and let the soup gently bubble away for 15 minutes
take the soup off the heat and leave it to cool entirely in the pan, then whizz it up with a hand stick blender, then pour it into a bowl and pop it in the fridge till utterly chilled
serve with slices of radish, cucumber and avocado and a drizzle of olive oil.
eat and of course, enjoy!