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.




Chilled cucumber and lovage soup

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
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
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
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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