In my early days of catering in other people’s homes, I remember having to rustle together a little spontaneous starter… it was like being on MasterChef – sole alone – with no-one but the unsuspecting dinner guests to understand the masterful soup I managed to create from the bottom drawers of a relative stranger’s fridge! I made a soup very similar to this one. It was the late nineties and I served the soup in pretty teacups I found in one of the cupboards. Sho! Nearly two decades later, I have taken Diana Henry’s lead and added white balsamic vinegar to my nineties staple. This is a classic cucumber soup for your repertoire.
800g cucumber (roughly 2 ¼ cucumbers), partially peeled and chopped, + a few julienned pieces of cucumber for garnish
100g walnuts + a small handful, roughly chopped for garnish
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 spring onions, sliced or ½ red onion, diced
¼ c mint leaves, snipped
3 T roughly chopped dill fronds, + extra for garnish
1 ½ slices of stale white country bread, crusts removed and torn
½ cup strong chicken stock
300g Greek or double cream yoghurt
1 cup ice blocks
80ml olive oil (or more to taste)
Juice and grated rind of ½ a lemon
2 T white balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
A few drops of Banhoek Chili Oil for each serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender or processor. You may need to blitz the ingredients in stages so as not to overwhelm your machine. (I have made this soup in my Nutribullet and it worked like a charm!) Because the flavours are delicate you need to taste and adjust for seasoning very carefully: more salt or black pepper or a drop more balsamic (do not even think of adding regular balsamic to this soup, lest you want to ruin its fine colour and flavour! Simply leave it out altogether and the soup will still be delicious!).
THE RECIPE WAS CREATED BY KAREN DUDLEY
Karen Dudley (born 1968) is a South African chef, food writer and restaurateur best known for her restaurant, The Kitchen in Woodstock, Cape Town, which was visited by former First Lady Michelle Obama in June 2011.
Karen has appeared on CNN and TEDx and has been interviewed by New York Times and The Guardian. She has been a guest judge on the reality cooking show My Kitchen Rules South Africa and is often interviewed on national TV.
We’re sure you’ll love this Cucumber soup recipe, so order some Banhoek Chilli oil and give it a try!