Guest Food Blogger Jo Orr: Food for a summers day

Jo_Orr_cucumber _radish_Soup_cherry_tart_thewomensroom_01 The cucumber is an oft neglected vegetable, tossed thoughtlessly into salads, and not regarded as being up to much taste-wise. Bland is the general consensus. Yet, with the merest love and attention it can be elevated to something rather lovely and adds much in the way of freshness, crunch and Summery flavour.

On a blistering hot day there is nothing more refreshing and enlivening than a bowl of cucumber soup or a tooth-achingly cold cucumber and mint sorbet. This particular soup is a bit of a mash-up between a Spanish ajo blanco ( a chilled soup made with almonds, bread, garlic and olive oil) and a Middle Eastern yoghurt soup.

There’s quite a lot of flavours going on, what with the tang of the thick Greek Yoghurt, the heat from the chilli and garlic, the different herby notes and then the lemon juice, so you may have to play around a little until you get the exact flavour that suits your own palate. It’s worth finnicking around with as, once you get the balance right, it’s a luscious bowl of Summer- light, refreshing and very ‘green’ tasting.

The first English cherries have turned up at the greengrocers- hurrah! I brought back a couple of paper bags groaning with cherries- we sat eating them with the grass tickling our toes and our fingertips getting more and more stained from the juices. Wanting to make the few remaining cherries stretch a little further, I made them the filling for my rustic-looking tart. “Rustic” here just means that you don’t have to waste any time crimping the pastry edges to make them look symmetrical and pretty, which suits me just fine!

If you have the time, do let the cherries sit in a bowl with some sugar and brandy before cooking as this really brings out the juices and intensifies the flavour. Serve with a big dollop of whipped cream if you like, but I think they are delicious enough just as they are.

Jo_Orr_cucumber _radish_Soup_cherry_tart_thewomensroom_04Cucumber & Radish Yoghurt Soup

Ingredients:  600g cucumber peeled and chopped, 80g blanched almonds, 3 garlic cloves, 6 spring onions chopped, 6 chopped radishes 3 tbsp chopped mint, 2 tbsp chopped dill, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 50g stale sourdough roughly torn, 300ml chicken stock, 250g thick Greek yoghurt, 2 tbsp olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper. For topping- 4 sliced radishes, a few cucumber chunks, a handful of walnuts (or almonds if preferred).
Method: Put all the ingredients into a blender and whizz up. Check the seasoning adding more salt or lemon juice as necessary. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours – serve with the radishes, cucumber chunks and walnuts.
Jo_Orr_cucumber _radish_Soup_cherry_tart_thewomensroom_03
 Cherry Tart
Ingredients: 300g cherries stoned, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tsp cornflour, 25g caster, splash of brandy, 1 packet of puff pastry, 2 tbsp demerara sugar, 1 egg for an egg wash.
Method: Wash and stone the cherries- pop them into a bowl with the brandy, lemon juice, caster and cornflour then leave to macerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven at 200C and sprinkle a baking tray with flour.
Roll out the puff pastry til nice and thin (each packet of puff should yield 2 tarts) and place onto the baking tray. Fill the centre with the cherries then roughly fold over the pastry to create a rim. Brush this with a lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara.
Bake for 18-20 mins until golden.


  • Jennifer G. says:

    I can never tell if this is food or a painting of food! Looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to try these recipes…

  • Jo Orr says:

    Hey Jennifer! What lovely comments- thanks so much! Hope you enjoy the recipes!! Jo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *