Summery Courgette Soup

This is a lovely little dish – pale speckled green, sprinkled with melting golden Parmesan, and tasting of sweet buttery courgettes and aromatic basil.

3 large courgettes
1 large potato
A couple of cloves of garlic
1.5 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
Approx 50g Parmesan cheese
A small handful of fresh basil
50 ml single cream
Olive oil
Salt and white pepper

Serves 6-8 (remember, you can always freeze it for another day – simply allow it to cool and then pop a couple of ladlefuls into a sandwich bag & tie firmly).

Start by slicing the courgettes finely, and then pop them in a large saucepan with the chopped cloves of garlic, a splash of olive oil and a spoonful of butter. Get them sizzling gently on a low-medium heat, so that the lovely smell of the garlic starts rising from the pan, and then peel and chop your potato. Add it to the pan with the courgettes, and leave everything to fry for five minutes or so, stirring every now and then. Put the kettle on to boil and make up the chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken, but if you’re a vegetarian, go ahead & use vegetable stock – it’ll still be delicious).
Pour the stock in, turn the heat down and put a lid on, then leave the vegetables to bubble gently for at least twenty minutes. While I was making this I got absorbed doing something else and left it for a while longer, which has no adverse effects, just make sure it doesn’t run out of water!

Finally, take the pan off the heat. Add the fresh basil and whizz it all up with a hand blender (click here for my tips on essential kitchen utensils). Return it to the hob and add the single cream, stirring well until it’s all mixed in, and then grate the parmesan in and let it melt.

Serve up a bowlful with a little more cheese grated on top and a few basil leaves scattered over it, with some delicious crusty bread on the side. I recently discovered those little half-baked rolls you can buy which you finish off in the oven, and I’m now addicted – they’re fabulous, because it’s just like having fresh bread (crusty on the outside, warm and soft in the middle) but with a fraction of the effort. Brilliant!