Yummy Soups!

For many people the idea of a cold soup seems almost verging on the bizarre. Soups are meant to be hot... With possibly the exception of Gazpacho, the only cold soup that many people know about.
Yet, around the Mediterranean cold soups are commonplace and even in Britain cold soups were commonly served in the 1910s and 1920s. Indeed, there's nothing as refreshing as a chilled lemon soup or an iced tomato and basil soup, especially on a hot summer's day.
Soups aren't just meant to be 'winter warmers' served on a chilly day. A cold or chilled soup can be extremely pleasant on a hot summer's day, especially if you're outside in the sunshine. So why not try a chilled soup yourself this summer?
Here a classic hot soup and a chilled soup you may not have heard of or encountered before are presented for your gastronomic delight.
Broccoli and Stilton Soup
1 carrot, julienned (cut into matchstick-sized pieces)
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 bay leaves
sprig of thyme
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp flour
225g broccoli florets
50g butter
300ml chicken or strong vegetable stock
300ml dry white wine
2 tsp cornflour
100g Stilton cheese
150ml single cream
salt and black pepper to taste.
Start with the classic French stock. Melt 25g of the butter and add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, thyme and the broccoli. Fry gently in a covered saucepan until the onion becomes translucent. At this stage remove the thyme and bay leaves.
When the frying is almost done add the remaining 25g of butter to another pan. When this has melted 2 heaped tablespoons of flour and a twist of black pepper. Cook for a minute to reduce the rawness of the flour. Add 100ml of milk and whisk to a smooth paste. Then add the chicken stock and the wine. All the while whisking to a smooth consistency.
Pour this thickened stock over the cooked vegetables and bring just to the point of boiling. Simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes then allow to cool slightly and blend with a hand blender. At this stage crumble the cheese into the soup. Place back on the heat and keep heating until the cheese has molten (but do not allow to boil). Check the seasoning and serve.
Chilled Carrot Soup
4 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 celery stick, with leaves, sliced
360ml chicken stock
1 tsp salt
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
180ml single cream or sour cream and basil or mint, to garnish
Add the carrots, onion and celery to a saucepan along with 120ml of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool then transfer to a blender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper then blend until smooth. Add the remainder of the stock and blend to mix thoroughly. Finally add the cream and blitz to mix. Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge to chill completely. Serve garnished with sour cream and fresh basil or mint leaves.
I hope you enjoyed these recipes and that they will tempt you to try your own home-made chilled soup this summer.

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