Chilled cucumber and lovage soup

Chilled cucumber and lovage soup

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Chilled cucumber soups are the most refreshing thing on a hot summer’s day. What’s more, this recipe is so simple that it’s a real godsend on scorching days when the idea of cooking seems inconceivable. My mum often used to make cold cucumber soup and this recipe is a slight variation on hers – she would use dill, not lovage. The lovage came about as, when I worked at Rochelle Canteen, we had a very enthusiastic lovage plant and so finding ways to use it was always a happy challenge. This soup was my favourite result. Lovage can be a bully with its punchy flavour, so some caution is required.

Alternative suggestions: as mentioned above, dill is also excellent in this soup, especially if lovage is hard to come by. The addition of some chopped, hard boiled eggs as a garnish can also be welcome.

1
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Discard the seeds. Roughly chop into chunks and place in a blender
2
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the eggs, if using) to the blender and season with salt and pepper. Start initially with 12 lovage leaves
3
Blend until completely smooth – the soup should have a pleasing, pale green colour. Taste. Is there a good balance of acidity and mellowness from the yoghurt? Add more lemon if it seems too creamy-tasting. Can you taste the lovage enough? It should be defined but not overpowering. Add the lovage leaves cautiously, a little at a time so as not to overpower the delicate cucumber flavour
4
Once you’re happy you’ve achieved a balanced flavour, place the soup in the fridge for at least 2 hours so that it is well-chilled before serving. Sprinkle with chopped hard-boiled egg to garnish, if desired
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