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Avocado et Mint Soup

Serve chilled in summer or hot in winter.

ingredients

serves 6
40 g (1 1/2 oz) 3 tbsp butter or margarine
6 spring onions (scallions), sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
25 g (1 oz) 1/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
600 ml (1 pint) 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 ripe avocados
2 - 3 tsp lemon juice
pinch of grated lemon rind
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup milk
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup single (light) cream
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp chopped mint
salt and pepper
mint sprigs, to garnish

minted garlic bread

125 g (4 1/2 oz) 1/2 cup butter
1 - 2 tbsp chopped mint
1 - 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 wholemeal (whole wheat) or white French bread stick

method

1. Melt the butter or margarine in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the spring onions (scallions) and garlic clove and fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until soft and translucent.

2. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Gradually stir in the stock, then bring to the boil. Simmer gently while preparing the avocados.

3. Peel the avocados, discard the stones (pits) and chop coarsely. Add to the soup with the lemon juice and rind and seasoning. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until tender.

4. Cool the soup slightly, then press through a strainer with the back of a spoon or process in a food processor or blender until a smooth puree forms. Pour into a bowl.

5. Stir in the milk and cream, adjust the seasoning, then stir in the mint. Cover and chill thoroughly.

6. To make the minted garlic bread, soften the butter and beat in the mint and garlic. Cut the loaf into slanting slices but leave a hinge on the bottom crust. Spread each slice with the butter and reassemble the loaf. Wrap in foil and place in a preheated oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, for about 15 minutes.

7. Serve the soup garnished with a sprig of mint and accompanied by the minted garlic bread.

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