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.