Liquid assets: Hix's cool summer soups

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Chill out with this colourful selection of cool summer soups, says Mark Hix

Cold soups in the summer are often overlooked but they make a refreshing dinner party starter. In the following recipes I have tried to combine the flavours, textures and colours of summer so that you can suitably impress your dinner guests without too much fuss.

But what might look striking to the eye may disappoint the palate, so making a cold soup flavoursome is of the utmost importance. A good blender is also a crucial piece of kit if you want to create a silky-smooth soup: among the best makes are KitchenAid, Magimix and Waring.

There are no hard and fast rules for cold soups, except to keep it all as simple as possible and resist the temptation of adding too many elements. You can have fun with classic combinations such as salmon and cucumber or, as I've done below, create a soup based on a bloody Mary!



Summer squash soup with goat's curd

Serves 4

There are some interesting members of the squash family around in the summer that are great for making a colourful soup. They all have unusual names that are difficult to remember but the important thing is to buy squashes with flavour and colour for the soup base. An orange fleshed squash, such as butternut, is a safe buy and is available for most of the year.

Some of the smaller squashes, such as patty pans and green and yellow courgettes, are good for the garnish along with some of the squash you have used for the soup base.

Any good quality cheese shop, such as Neal's Yard Dairy, will sell goat's curd, which has a really neutral flavour compared with more mature goat's cheese.

1 small leek, chopped, washed and drained
1tbsp olive oil
1kg orange flesh of summer squash, such as onion squash or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped (reserve some chunks for the garnish)
500ml vegetable stock (a good quality cube will do)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

A selection of small squashes, including the above, or green and/or yellow courgettes
1tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
A tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil
4 small spoonfuls of goat's curd or fromage frais

Gently cook the leek in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the squash and stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then simmer for 20 minutes. Blend the soup in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve if necessary, season if required and refrigerate for a few hours until chilled.

Meanwhile, peel the small squashes for the garnish and cut into even-sized pieces and do the same with the courgette if using. You should ideally try to have different shapes like wedges, chunks etc. Cook them in boiling salted water until tender, then drain and cool.

To serve, pour the soups into large, chilled soup bowls or soup plates about 2-3cm deep, arrange the squashes in the centre and spoon some goat's curd on top. Spoon over a little olive oil and scatter the pumpkin seeds over.



Chilled cucumber soup with Braden Rost

Serves 4

Cucumber consists mostly of water, so it needs gentle and brief cooking to help it blend smoothly and bring out the flavours and to help prevent it separating once it's blended and chilled.

You can buy Braden Rost or "hot smoked" salmon from good delis or fishmongers, or you could just use poached salmon instead.

1 leek, roughly chopped and washed
1tbsp olive oil
2 cucumbers, roughly chopped (reserve a quarter of one for garnish)
600ml vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish

The quarter cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out and sliced on the angle
80-100g Braden Rost, broken into chunks
A few sprigs of fennel or dill
A spoonful of olive oil

Gently cook the leek in the olive oil, in a covered pan, for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the cucumber and remove from the heat. Blend in a liquidiser until very smooth. Strain through a medium-meshed sieve (a fine mesh will trap too many bits) into a bowl set over some iced water to cool it quickly and prevent discolouring. Season to taste. Meanwhile, blanch the slices of cucumber in a little boiling, salted water for 30 seconds and drain and refresh under cold water. To serve, mix the cucumber and salmon together, pour the soup into large chilled soup bowls about 2-3cm deep and arrange the salmon and cucumber in the centre. Scatter the dill over and spoon a little olive oil around.



Spiced tomato soup with horseradish

Serves 4

This is a version of a bloody Mary that makes a great soup to start off a Sunday brunch. A few tomato growers around the country are growing old heritage varieties of tomatoes, which make fantastic salads and fun soups such as this one. You can use over-ripe tomatoes for the base and a selection of coloured or heritage tomatoes for the garnish.

250g ripe red tomatoes, halved and deseeded
250g ripe cherry tomatoes
150ml tomato juice
Half clove of garlic, peeled and blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes
A few drops of Tabasco to taste
1-2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish

60–70g mixed tomatoes (Heritage, red and yellow cherry, plum, etc)
About 20–30g freshly grated horseradish
2tbsp olive oil

Put the ripe tomatoes in a liquidiser with the cherry tomatoes, tomato juice and garlic. Blend until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste, then chill in the fridge for an hour or two, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes if you're in a hurry.

To serve, pour into large, chilled soup bowls or soup plates. Cut the mixed tomatoes into even-sized chunks and arrange in the centre. Scatter the grated horseradish on top and drizzle with the olive oil.

Beetroot soup with fried halloumi and mint

Serves 4

Beetroot is one of my favourite chilled soups; it's got such a great flavour and colour, and always goes down well with dinner guests. I've added a bit of a Mediterranean twist here by frying cubes of halloumi like croutons and using white beetroot to garnish. You could use a selection of coloured beetroots.

1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1tbsp vegetable or olive oil
400g medium beetroot cooked in their skins for 1 hour, or until tender, peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few drops of balsamic vinegar to taste

To serve

150g or more of halloumi, cut into 1cm dice
A couple of white or golden beets, cooked, peeled and cut into wedges
A few small mint leaves, washed
1tbsp olive oil

Gently cook the onion in the oil in a covered pan for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season with a little salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beetroot, remove from the heat and blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine meshed sieve and re-season if necessary. Cool the soup down, then refrigerate for a few hours until well chilled or put it into the freezer if you're in a rush.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in, preferably, a non-stick frying pan and fry the pieces of halloumi on a fairly high heat for a few minutes, turning them occasionally until they are evenly coloured all over. Remove from the pan and drain on some kitchen paper.

Once the soup has chilled, check and re-season if necessary as the flavour changes a little once it has cooled down, then stir in the balsamic vinegar to taste.

To serve, cut the yellow beets into chunks or wedges. Pour the soup into large, chilled bowls or soup plates, arrange the beets in the middle and scatter the halloumi and mint leaves over; drizzle with olive oil.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
video
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe
art
Sport
Robin van Persie leaves the field at the King Power Stadium last Sunday
football
Arts and Entertainment
tvPresenter back after daughter's Halloween accident
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
tv

Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year

News
people

London 'needs affordable housing'

News
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.
news

Arts and Entertainment
Timeshift: The Ladybird Books Story (9pm BBC4 Sun 22 Dec)
BooksLadybird drops branding books for boys and girls
Arts and Entertainment
music Band accidentally drops four-letter description at concert
News
news
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer - £30,000 OTE Uncapped

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines