Tag Archives: cucumber

Chilled Cucumber and Crayfish Soup

Delicate and delightfully refreshing, this velvety chilled soup is perfect for a summer lunch with friends. The light, subtle flavour of the cucumber is uplifted with lemon and chilli oils and the added luxury of crayfish tails makes this little number a surprisingly lovely addition to a sunshiny day! It can also be cooked a day in advance of eating – perfect for summertime relaxation with friends and a bottle of crisp white!

What you need…

2 x screw top jars with lids

500g hot water from the kettle

1 vegetable stockpot (I use Knorr)

4 tablespoons olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried, crushed chillis

100g unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cucumbers, halved, deseeded and finely diced

1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped plus extra to garnish

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

400ml full-fat natural, creamy yogurt

Sea salt and black pepper

240g crayfish tails (yum!)

What to do…

First make a vegetable stock by using a balloon whisk to help dissolve the stockpot into the hot water from the kettle. Set aside.

Next, into one jar pour 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Pop on the lid, shake like mad and set aside. Likewise, with the second jar, pour in two tablespoons of olive oil and tip in the chillis. Pop on the lid, shake and set aside.

To the main event: melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, tip in the onion and garlic and cook gently for 6-8 minutes or until softened but not brown. Tip in the cucumber and again cook gently for another 5 minutes – the aroma is quite delightful!

Pour in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to your blender, tip in the herbs and whizz until smooth. Set aside to cool completely and then gently stir in the yogurt. Season, taste and season again if necessary. Chill for anything between 2 hours and overnight.

When ready to serve, ladle the chilled soup into bowls, scatter in the crayfish tails, drizzle over the lemon and chilli-infused oils and garnish with a few sprigs of dill. Delightful!

Inspired by…

Waitrose.com

How easy…

Extremely and the fact that you can make it ahead is even better!

 

 

 

 

Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Cucumber Mousse

I was told about this recipe over supper one night (thanks Julie) and immediately looked it up. It is, without a shred of doubt, ridiculously 1970s in appearance but I tell you what, as a centrepiece at a party or as a shared starter with some warmed, fresh bread on the side, it’s absolutely sensational. It also has the added benefits of being ridiculously easy and very quick. Another accolades is that it quite clearly proves that not everything about the 1970s was cringe-worthy!!!! Give this one a go – they’ll laugh, it’ll be a talking point and then they’ll absolutely love it!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

1 x 22cm diametre, 4.5cm-deep savarin mould/baking dish, very lightly oiled with rapeseed oil

1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

400g unsliced smoked salmon, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lemon, plus extra according to personal taste

200g full-fat cream cheese

450g double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

400g cooked jumbo king prawns, shelled

50g watercress or rocket

6 cooked tiger prawns or large crevettes to garnish (optional)

What to do…

Layer half of the cucumber into the mould, overlapping the slices as you go, until they cover the bottom of the mould. Set aside.

Into your food processor, tip the smoked salmon and the juice of 1 lemon. Whizz until smooth. Add the cream cheese and whizz again to thoroughly incorporate. Whilst the processor is running, slowly add the cream until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Whizz. Taste. Add more seasoning and lemon juice to taste. Whizz again.

Carefully spoon half the mixture over the cucumber slices. Then arrange half the prawns, slightly overlapping as you go in a circle all the way around the middle of the mould. Cover with the remaining mousse and then arrange the left over cucumber over the top, in the same way as you did the first layer.

Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to serve.

To serve, run a small palette knife around the edge of the mould just to loosen it a little and then invert the mould onto a serving plate. You may need to gently tap the sides and top (I use a steak mallet!)

Once it’s delightfully plopped onto the plate, pile the watercress into the centre and top with the remaining prawns. Decorate with tiger prawns/crevettes if you are using and serve with wedges of lemon, warm fresh bread and chilled white wine. Simply lovely!

Salmon, Prawn & cuc mousse close up w

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Really easy and quite the centrepiece of the table