Greece has been HOT this year and so chilled soups make the perfect starter. Personally I would be more than happy to eat them everyday, but for variety’s sake, and because they’re not particularly Greek, I’ve limited it to 2 chilled soups a week… Chilled soups are great because they can be made raw and there is little chopping involved as you can just shove everything in your food processor or blender. Inevitably people always seem to want seconds when it comes to soup, so you may want to make extra too.
This week was a fun challenge as the teachers leading the retreat requested no onion or garlic for the group (I have been informed by a Spanish chef that there is no such thing as a gazpacho without the onion or garlic), and there was also a guest who could not eat any nightshade foods, which is somewhat a challenge given that this rules out many of the seasonal meditteranean vegetables here, including tomatoes, cucumber, aubergine and peppers. So, I came up with this watermelon, avocado and fennel soup. I wasn’t sure if the combination of flavours would work, but it was a winner, and has now become my new favourite.
Chilled watermelon, avocado and fennel soup
1 avocado, stoned
1 small fennel, roughly chopped
300g of watermelon flesh, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
10g of basil leaves
100ml of olive oil, plus extra for serving
100g of crustless bread
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
Tear up the bread into pieces and place in a bowl with the watermelon. Leave for 10 minutes allowing the bread to soak up the juices from the watermelon. Place the watermelon and bread, alongside the fennel, chilli, basil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. With the blender still going pour in the olive oil. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Serve in bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.
Serves 4 to 6