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
- 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.