Dedication: This new soup recipe is for lovely Rebecca, who is vegetarian. As an ex vegetarian I know only too well that many food magazines, programmes and blogs have far too little on offer for those who don't eat meat. (Although now I am back on the meaty stuff I have to say I think you're all slightly bonkers but there you go, nowt worse than an ex veggie!)
Anyone who knows me knows that soup is one of my things. I tend to make it much more in autumn and winter as it makes such a great lunch to take to work etc or for weekend lunches and keeps you nice and warm inside on cold wet days. Bizarrely, I never usually make soup when having friends over for dinner. In fact I can’t remember the last time I made soup as a starter. And I never order it in restaurants as a starter, but will happily order it for lunch. Hmmm…
There is a great new café in Newcastle called Supe which does really excellent fresh soups using seasonal and local ingredients. Unfortunately they seem not to have a website but if you are in the area, it’s on Pilgrim Street, near the Tyneside Cinema and is run by two nice young chaps who have lots of energy and passion for food and for offering healthy and delicious alternatives to the usual café stuff you find.
Anyhow, I digress. I am writing today to introduce my latest soup recipe, which is a summer soup for a change. And so nice, I might even do it as a starter at my next dinner party.
We are getting a lot of courgettes at the moment from Mark & Helen's allotment – delicious and tender, they are perfect for this recipe. I’m really into mint at the moment so that had to go in too and it makes it extra summery. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present…
Courgette, Feta & Mint Soup
Serves two, generously
4 medium sized courgettes or equivalent
1/3 supermarket sized pack of feta cheese
1 medium potato
1 pint vegetable stock (fresh or cubes)
20or so mint leaves
2 small cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Chop the vegetables up into 2 cm chunks and dice the garlic into little bits. Fry off on a medium heat for about 5 mins until the courgettes are softened and the veggies have a little colour (golden rather than brown).
Add the stock and the salt and cook until the potato seems tender, about 15 mins. Add the feta, crumbled up and the mint leaves. Cook for a further 30 seconds then remove from the heat.
Using a hand blender whiz until smooth (or use a jug blender if you have one). It turns a really lovely light yellowish green and has a soft, silky texture.
Serve with a small sprig of fresh mint. If you were doing for a dinner party and trying to be posh, and if you knew a way of procuring them, a deep-fried courgette flower would look fantastic. (Can you tell I have been watching Jamie again?!)
I am really pleased with this soup; it is so simple, with just 5 main ingredients and takes just 20 minutes from chopping board to bowl.