Saturday, 31 August 2013

Cold Cucumber Almond & Mint Soup

Cucumbers.  I suppose in regular western restaurants they're usually seen in a Greek salad or in a sandwich.  The former I can tolerate, but I've never been a big fan of cucumber sandwiches.  I remember I had a friend in middle school who ate cucumber and tuna sandwiches, which I tried once and almost threw up in my mouth.  My palate can't detect anything pleasant with that combination.  Maybe it wasn't so much the combination, as was the tuna, since it was canned tuna in brine.  For me, tuna in brine leaves this unpleasant trailing afternote that you need to desperately wash away with gulps of water.  Only tuna in olive oil, please (note: it's my Italian side, not my posh side).  Anyway, to this day, cucumber and tuna remain a rather unappealing prospect to me.  And cucumber with mayo in a sandwich?...again, alright, but not something incredibly palatable. 

My Chinese mother used to stir fry cucumbers with scrambled eggs.  If you haven't tried cooked cucumbers, try it, it tastes almost like zucchini. 

Oh and lastly, tzaziki.  That, I like, which is the inspiration for this soup.  

Remember the watermelon, tomato, ricotta and almond gazpacho?  Well, this is even more summery.  The mint and cucumber both bring a wonderful cooling quality to this soup, and the lime gives it that necessary zing to make it less boring.  Make sure you add lots of freshly ground black pepper to give it a nice kick as well.  But if you're not a fan of that, you don't have to.  Take the measurements below with a pinch of salt and you decide which flavors to promote. 

Serves 2
2 large cucumbers
2 small garlic cloves (I like it garlicky, but I'm single, so if you want, you can reduce the amount of garlic here)
4 sprigs of mint
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime
4 tbsp almonds
4 tbsp plain yoghurt

Peel and roughly chop the cucumbers.  Throw that into a food processor along with the garlic roughly chopped, the mint leaves, lime juice and zest, and almonds.  Process until smooth then stir in the yoghurt and add lots of freshly ground pepper.  Season with salt and serve. 

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