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Union of Genius
Forrest Road

Elaine Mason from Edinburgh's Union of Genius shares a few flavour secrets...

Blowing hot and cold - Scottish summertime soups

Anyone who has enjoyed Scottish summers knows that some piping-hot soup might be perfect for a wet July. But soups in summer are deliciously refreshing. While you may immediately think of iced gazpacho there are lots of soups that can be enjoyed chilled in summer. Temperature is crucial. Serving food straight from the fridge is never a great idea - but lightly chilled is something else; cold enough to refresh, warm enough for the flavours to come to the fore. Because there's less evaporation from cold food than hot, cold food has to work harder. Taste is largely driven by our sense of smell. Chilled soup needs to be finished and seasoned differently from a soup destined to be served hot. The chilled soup will, simply, need more flavour; the stock needs to be stronger, and the soup may need salt before serving. Adding cream improves the mouthfeel, adding luxurious silkiness. You need less herb, too - with no heat, herbal notes don't evaporate, so you need less to balance the overall flavour. 

This recipe is a perfect example; served hot, it is light, distinctly courgette-y with herbal notes. Served chilled, the separate flavour layers of leek, spinach and courgette are apparent. 

Try it out! Hot or cold; there's a green to suit you right here:

The Big Green (serves 6)
2 medium onions
2 medium leeks 
1 med-large potato 
4 medium courgettes
150g fresh or frozen spinach
3 cloves garlic 
1.25 litres veg stock 
250 ml whole milk
generous dash double cream
scant pinch chilli flakes 
1 scant tsp dill weed
25g butter

Sauté roughly-chopped onion, potatoes, garlic, leeks in oil and butter for 10 mins. 
Add courgettes, milk, chilli and veg stock. Simmer for 30 mins. Add spinach. 
Blend the soup until smooth and add the cream. Are you serving it hot or cold? 

Hot; add 1 tsp dill and black pepper. Allow the soup to sit for a couple of hours to meld the flavours; check seasoning is balanced and serve. 
Cold; add a bit more cream and half a tsp of dill. Allow the soup to cool to room temperature, and finish by chilling in the fridge until lightly cool. Check the seasoning; it'll likely need a touch of salt and more pepper.
Union of Genius Forrest Rd, Edinburgh, EH1 2QN 0131 226 4

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