My passion for cooking can be credited to my Nana. She taught me to cook. My parents weren’t too flash in the area of food, though they did their best. Knowing they didn’t have these skills they shipped me off to my Nana to learn. Which resulted in some of my most treasured memories as a child. From around the age of eight my Nana would pick me up after school and we headed back to her place to prepare dinner – this almost always consisted of a soup, main course and dessert.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Nana and I would always make this soup on a hot summers day during our Thursday afternoon cooking sessions. This was, and is still, my favourite soup (though in winter I am more inclined to make this soup). I have slightly tweaked the recipe from the original with the addition of avocado and less yogurt to give a silky smooth texture. The important thing is to perfectly balance the salty, sour, pungent tastes to hit all the taste bubs at once. Dairy-free omit the yogurt and add a little extra lemon to taste.
Prep Time 15 minutes


  • 1 telegraph cucumber or 3 homegrown Lebanese cucumbers like the ones above
  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado no bruised avocados, it will taint the whole soup
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened yogurt (or homemade yogurt)
  • juice of half a lemon or lime
  • 2 small cloves of garlic peeled
  • handful of mint
  • 6 ice cubes or 1/3 cup chilled water
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • Cracked pepper to taste


  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz, scrapping down the sides several times, until smooth. Check taste adding extra lemon, salt and/ or cracked pepper to get the perfect balance on the taste buds. Add more chilled water or several more ice cubes if the mix is too thick. It should be pourable like a smoothie.
  • Serve icy cold in small bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and mint leaves to garnish.

I had this little note book I copied the recipes into from my Nana’s recipe cards (those little boxes with the all the recipe cards neatly filed in alphabetical order were fantastic – I want one). Sadly somewhere along the way of traveling and moving around in my 20’s the little note book is now gone. Luckily I can still phone my Nana or drop by to get a recipe from her. She has also compiled all her favourite recipes into a (rather large) printed book for all the family members. Though not always easy to find the recipe you are looking for I refer to this often.

My Nana is one of those exceptional woman of her generation. She swam in the 1948 Olympics (you might have seen her on the news last year), she was a Justice of the Peace (JP), marriage celebrant, dabbled in cabinet making, and the mother of 5 children. She never failed to have a home-cooked (and often homegrown) dinner on the table, and the lunch boxes were always full of home baking. Really I don’t know how she did it, I find it hard at times with 2 children. She also tried her at hand pottery, and was rather good at it. I still remember her little pottery room in the basement of their big house, with her potter’s wheel overlooking the Tasman Bay. She always looked so ‘at peace’ sitting at that wheel churning out her creations.

As she retired from pottery making many years ago her pieces are now speckled around the family and I treat my two bowls as you would any family heirloom. They are only used for special occasion, even then I treat them with the utmost care. As I am sharing my Nana’s recipe this week I thought it was only fitting to photograph this stunning soup in her bowls. These bowls are a set of eight that Nana created for her belated sister as a birthday gift. I carefully transported them to our home wrapped snugly in newspaper to avoid a breakage. These are a family heirloom after all.

Have a great week, and if you have any requests please comment below.



Join the Conversation

  1. I have wonderful memories too of cooking with my Nan, all my cake baking cake from her. I am sure she looks down and smiles on me when I bake.

  2. What beautiful memories…and what an amazing woman! Your story reaffirms my belief that taking the time to share with children the things you love to do, in your nana’s case cooking, is a gift that can stay with them for life.

    (And that soup looks pretty delish too!)

    1. Nicola Author says:

      yes sharing that knowledge of cooking and growing food is something I want to pass onto my children. Keep up the great work Samantha 🙂

  3. Ana Galloway says:

    I remember eating this delictable soup many times just after having my braces tightened when I was a teenager. It was the perfect meal to sooth the pain and satisfy the tastebuds! Nana knew best! MMM

    1. Nicola Author says:

      I bet Ana, what a treat. Lovely to hear from you x

  4. Hi

    Can you make this with any homegrown cucumber or does it have to be the ones specified. I have many of the standard cucu’s but none of the ones mentioned. Will it just change the texture, and taste slightly ?


    1. Nicola Author says:

      Hi Lee
      Yes most definately you could use another type of cucumber. Depending on the type you may want to peel the skin if it has a tougher skin. You want roughly the quantity of a telegraph cucumber. Let me know how you go.

  5. Hi Nicola,
    Made this soup the other day when it was really hot and loved it! I blended it a bit too smoothly so added some more cucumber, capsicum and tomato chopped small for texture and it was nice to have that crunch. Was a lovely lunch and also kept pretty well in the fridge to have leftovers the next day too. I left the yoghurt out as I didn’t have any and I thought it tasted beautifully creamy without it!

    I was out for dinner the other night and the restaurant I went to brought the most delicious broccoli and feta gazpacho out in little glasses to start. Yum.

    Your Nana’s pottery cups are lovely too!

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Hi Nicky, I was just thinking yesterday a salsa would be nice as a topping to this soup to give it some texture so you read my thoughts!
      The gazpacho sounds amazing 🙂 Enjoy

  6. Ana Galloway says:

    This is such a quick and easy recipe to make! I love it! And so does mum and my three friends!! With love from Panama xx

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks Ana xx

  7. So lovely. Your Nana is an inspiration – lovely clip and she looks so well now. This was a lovely blog post.

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks Sarah. Yes she is special as all grandparents are. I just feel lucky to have her so close.

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