So with the onslaught of summer, and that’s exactly how it feels, the heat has been something to deal with and despite the air-con in my kitchen, after a day of running ovens and hot stoves it only makes me look for quicker means and different recipes and menus to try and to present to our guests that have reduced cooking times. I forgive anyone then who thinks my brain is cooked too if I say I’ve been doing soup starters in this heat.
But wait, think of a chilled soup!
Something cooling and soothing to start your dinner with. Even better if you have a heavier main and o dessert on offer. Personally I know I eat less in summer (wish it was summer all the time!) as the heat has this effect on me. So when a 3 course dinner is on offer for the adventurous eaters they want to try it all and I’m not going to stop them, only help them by serving lighter options so as to ensure they get to savour each course on offer. Not to mention it will only take a few minutes of prepping and maybe cooking in some cases but certainly reduces the overheated chef factor.
Chilled Avocado Soup
2 Ripe Avocado
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Cups warm Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Low Fat or Fat Free Plain Yoghurt
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
Scoop the Avo Flesh into the blender, save the stones. Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl or jug, put the stones back into the soup cover and chill. Soups done!
When you ready to serve remove the stones, whisk the soup and then pour into serving bowls. Garnish with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkling of paprika and serve with some crusty fresh bread. For the wow factor gate some parmesan cheese, put tablespoonful’s on baking paper on a baking sheet and melt at 180c for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them get cold then remove and stand them upright in your soup! Et Voila! Parmesan Crisps!
Did you know Beetroot doesn’t come in bottles doused in vinegar? Few seem to. Here’s a beetroot soup recipe that has no likeness to the hearty Borscht from winter and no sign of vinegar either.
2 Onions diced
6-8 medium fresh beetroots peeled and grated. (Use disposable gloves and a food processor to grate. No stains!)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Teaspoon Cumin
2 Teaspoons chopped fresh Thyme
4 Cups Beef Stock
Cream and Thyme sprigs for garnish
Sauté onions in butter until soft, add the Thyme and Cumin and sweat for 2 minutes. Add grated Beetroot and Beef stock and cook on medium heat for 25minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth, return to saucepan and season to taste then remove and chill. Season with a swirl of fresh cream and sprinkling of Thyme leaves and some wholesome health bread.
And when the Highveld afternoon thunderstorms strike and the evening turns cool, both of these wonderful soups can be served warm too. The Avocado soup should only be heated to just below boiling point as the yoghurt and lemon will cause it to curdle otherwise. The Beetroot Soup can be served piping hot.
Keep cool and Buon Apetito!
Rogere, Chef at Thaba Khaya Lodge in Brits.
To find out more about this beautiful private game lodge in Brits, go to http://www.thabakhayalodge.co.za/