This recipe is adapted from my second book, A Year In 120 Recipes, and is a firm favourite in the hot weather! Super simple to throw together, deliciously refreshing, and full of vital nutrients and goodness, and the work of a mere moment.
FUEL TIME: 1 MINUTE
FUEL SOURCE: ELECTRICITY, PLUG SOCKET
EQUIPMENT: Sharp knife, blender, bowl, spoon
Serves 2 very generously, or 4 smaller portions, from 28p each
1/3 of a cucumber, approx 100g, 20p (59p each, Asda)
1/4 of an onion, approx 20g, 1p (65p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda)
1 smallish stalk of celery, approx 30g, 3p (50p/540g, Growers Selection at Asda)
1 small clove of garlic, 2p (65p/3 bulbs, Asda)
1 small red, orange or yellow pepper, or 80g frozen sliced peppers, 45p (45p each, Growers Selection at Asda)
1 x 400g can of plum tomatoes, 28p (28p/400g, Smartprice at Asda)
A couple of fresh basil leaves or sprigs of parsley, optional
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs, 2p (35p/18g, Just Essentials at Asda)
2 tbsp light cooking oil, 5p (£5/3l vegetable oil, Asda)
1 tsp sugar, <1p (65p/1kg, Silver Spoon at Asda)
1 tsp light coloured vinegar or lemon juice, bottled is fine, 1p (50p/250ml, bottled lemon juice at Asda)
A pinch or two of salt, <1p (30p/750g, Table Salt at Asda)
Plenty of black pepper, <1p (£1/100g, TRS at Asda)
A pinch or two of chilli, <1p (£1/100g, TRS at Asda)
First dice your cucumber; no need to peel it, the skin is full of fibre and goodness and you paid good money for it, after all. Peel the papery outside layer away from the onion and dice a quarter of its, wrapping the rest in clingy wrap or a food safe bag top it back in the fridge to use for something else. Chop your celery, and peel your garlic. Dice your pepper; you can leave the seeds and pithy middle intact for this as it’ll all get blended up together. The only bit you need to carefully cut away and discard is the tough green stalk at the top – the rest is perfectly useable.
Separate a little of the cucumber, celery and pepper from the rest of the veg, you’ll want around a quarter of it. Dice this super finely, as small as you can get it, and reserve to one side for a moment. This is for garnishing the soup at the end, and gives it a pleasant little crunch and texture.
Pour the tomatoes into a blender, and add the cucumber, onion, celery, garlic and pepper. Add the herbs, oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and chilli.
Blend everything at top speed for a minute, check it to see if it is super smooth, and if not give it another turn. Don’t be tempted to do two minutes at once as the motor on the blender can overheat – which ends up being a rather expensive minute!
When the soup is smooth, taste a little of it to check the seasoning, and add more salt, pepper, herbs, chilli, vinegar to suit your own preferences.
Pop it in the freezer for around 20 minutes to chill it thoroughly, or for a speedier and thoroughly traditional solution, stir in a couple of ice cubes to bring the temperature right down to a deliciously cool treat.
Serve, with the reserved finely chopped veg scattered on top, and a final flourish of black pepper and chilli, if you’re so minded.
TO KEEP: This will keep in the fridge in an airtight container or food safe bag for three days, but it may separate a little as these things have a tendency to do. If this happens, you can either return it to the blender briefly, or just give it a vigorous stir to bring it back together. If you want to freeze it, simply decant into an airtight clean jar, leaving an inch of space at the top to allow it to expand, or a food safe container or bag. Defrost in the fridge overnight – using within 4 months of making it – and as above, re-blend or stir well to smooth it out to serve.
TO KEEP: This will keep in the fridge for up to four days in a clean, airtight jar with a tightly fitting lid, food safe container, or food storage bag. You can also freeze it for up to four months; defrost it in the fridge overnight and give it a thorough stir before serving.
All text copyright Jack Monroe, not to be reproduced without the explicit written permission of the author.
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