When I lived overseas, the 'lets mix anything with anything' craze was just kicking off. It seems to have peaked with bacon ice-cream and salted caramel, but there have been some interesting combinations over the years.
At one particular milkshake shop in my village they mixed every possible sweet ingredient and marketable chocolate bar with ice-cream and milk, but there was one that always stood out and never got much of a look in – the cucumber milkshake. The holy grail of milkshake wrongness.
Why would anyone do such a thing? Surely this is in the realms of the tomato milkshake, or iceberg lettuce milkshake? Would they be throwing in a bit of mince soon to make a complete burger milkshake? I don’t want to think about that, but after multiple dares and bets with friends, I drew the short straw for the cucumber milkshake and had to drink the whole thing. It was… really good! I didn’t see how much actual cucumber went into the drink (and cucumbers flavour isn’t all that overwhelming anyway), but it was certainly palatable, which brings me to this chilled cucumber soup.
I have always believed that soup should remain firmly entrenched in winter. It is the first comfort food that springs to mind when the nights are dark and the slippers are on. I was convinced that gazpacho was just pasta sauce, invented by someone who ran out of pasta, and cucumber soup from someone who had a broken stove top. But alas, both of these soups are delicious and cooling in the grip of a hot summer. This soup is tangy and peppery thanks to the addition of rocket and cayenne, it will become another cooling dish to add to your 'easiest ever' repertoire.
Chilled cucumber soup with prawn and prosciutto crumble
Serves two, easily doubled
10 minutes preparation, 5 minutes cooking
5 Lebanese cucumbers
1 small bunch of rocket, trimmed (reserve 4 or 5 leaves)
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon fresh dill
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices prosciutto
10 cooked prawns – shelled, deveined and diced
Peel and deseed the cucumber (once sliced down the centre, it's easy to deseed the cucumbers by scraping down the middle with a teaspoon). Thickly dice cucumbers and place in a blender with all other ingredients except prawns and prosciutto. Blend until combined.
Meanwhile fry the prosciutto in a dry frying pan for about 2 minutes on each side or until crisp. Set aside to cool.
Once prosciutto is cooled, crumble into a small bowl and toss with diced prawns and chopped rocket leaves. Divide soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with crumble.