Beetroot soup with fried halloumi and mint

Serves 4
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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.