Friday, 11 July 2014

Cold Cucumber Soup

... for lunch on a stiflingly hot summer's day!  We are using our own cucumbers for this one and it is a great satisfaction to be able to say... I grew those and there we go... lunch!

This is an unusual one for conservative UK tastes so you need to be open minded (and like cucumbers) just think along the lines of slightly more liquid dipping sauce consistency and taste ... and less 'soup' and you will be fine.

Take a large cucumber - the best are the ridge cucumbers not the 'Dutch style' tubes of water that pass for cucumbers these days.  Peel and then grate it coarsely into a large bowl.  I included the seeds because I don't mind them but if you like you can quarter the cucumber lengthways and then scrape the seeds out and discard (or better still, wash and dry them and plant for more cucumbers next year!)

To your grated cucumber add... a little salt and pepper, 250ml single cream and 150ml plain yoghurt.

Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, but add it slowly and taste until it is just right... you will know when that is, trust me.

At this point you should pop the 'soup' in the fridge for a couple of hours and then sprinkle over some finely chopped fresh mint to garnish just before serving.  My mint is suffering badly from too much sun, not enough water and too many chickens trying to eat it so I had to use dried mint.  If you are using dried mint, add it sooner and leave it to infuse for a while or you won't get any flavour of mint at all.

Serve with flatbreads just warm from the oven or at a push a piece of crusty bread.  Enjoy!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Coriander Gin

Our coriander went to seed very quickly this year.  No matter how fast I kept cutting off the flowers more would appear within a matter of hours.  I found out later that its because we planted it in full sun... its goes to seed much faster without any shade apparently.  Anyway, finally, I let it do what it wanted to and decided to harvest the seed.

Most of it will be left to go brown on the plant but I took some green coriander seed heads to put into gin.  I heard that it makes really nice coriander vodka but I didn't have any vodka so I tried it in gin.

Not sure how long it has to stay there but it smells divine.  We'll give it a few weeks before trying and if we like it then it will remain on the menu permanently.  How did we do it?  Very easy.

Pick the green coriander seed and wash really well (you would be surprised at how many little black bugs came off it even after two washes there was still a few left).  Once perfectly clean simply drop into gin.  How much?  I haven't a clue... we had about three inches of gin left in this bottle so we added a couple of sprigs of coriander seed to it.  I'll let you know later if its too strong or too weak.  Cheers.