|A pre-natal courgette!|
Back in the spring, I had a gardening disaster. Not one of the four courgette (otherwise known as zucchini) seeds I sowed came up. We all love chocolate courgette cake, so disaster loomed. There were four more seeds left in the packet I’d used, so I sowed them. Then I bought a new packet and sowed four more seeds just in case. Of course, all eight germinated!
When that happens, you’re supposed to save the best plants and throw the rest on the compost heap. I couldn’t bear to do that. Keeping all those seedlings was a dangerous move. I usually grow only three plants each year. When they get the hang of producing courgettes I have trouble keeping up with the harvest. At least one hides under those big, beautiful leaves until it’s grown to marrow size.
Yesterday, I picked the first courgettes of the season. The plants are bright with dozens of flowers, so there will be plenty more to come. I’ve been gathering recipes in advance, so it was time to try the first one. The weather was so wet and miserable, I made courgette and cheese soup. Luckily, it was lovely. Given the poor summer weather and the prospect of wheelbarrows of courgettes to come, we could be enjoying it several times a week!
I always make soup in large quantities as it’s cheap, easy, most sorts will freeze, and this one is just as good to eat next day. Making two meals at one time is a great time-saver, too.
COURGETTE (ZUCCHINI) AND CHEESE SOUP—serves four, twice.
3 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 courgettes (zucchini) unpeeled, but washed, dried and cut into big chunks.
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
5oz/150 grammes of cheese- I use whatever’s in the fridge. Feta or blue cheese are both good.
A handful of fresh green herbs, chopped finely. I used mint and chives.
Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the courgettes and garlic. Stir, then cook over a medium heat until everything is soft and beginning to colour.
Pour in the stock, then simmer for five minutes.
Cube or crumble the cheese, according to texture, and add to the soup along with the chopped herbs. Stir over a low heat until the cheese is almost melted.
Remove from the heat, blend, check seasoning and serve.
In a perfect world, each bowl of soup would be topped with a swirl of cream and a pinch of chopped fresh herbs reserved from the ones that went into the mixture. We didn’t have any cream to add last night, and I forgot to keep back any herbs for decoration but the soup tasted delicious all the same!