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Chilled courgette and cheese soup

Wait until the soup has chilled and the flavours have developed before adding the seasoning.

ingredients

serves 6
500 g (1 lb) courgettes, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths
850 ml (1 1/2 pints) chicken stock
1 mint sprig
25 g (1 oz) margarine or butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
175 g (6 oz) full-fat soft cheese
150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper

to serve

6 ice cubes
2 tablespoons double cream
extra mint sprigs, to garnish

method

1. Put the courgettes into a large pan with the stock and mint sprig. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a small pan, add the onion and garlic, if using, and fry gently for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and lightly coloured.
3. Remove the courgettes from the heat and stir in the onion and garlic. Allow to cool slightly, then pour the courgette mixture into a blender and work to a puree.
4. In a large bowl, blend the cheese with the milk a little at a time, then beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Stir in the courgette puree.
5. Pour the soup into a clean large bowl or soup tureen, cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight.
6. To serve: season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Add ice cubes, swirl over the cream and sprinkle with sprigs of mint. Serve at once.

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