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Courgette Soup with Paprika and Toasted Almonds

Serves 6-8

Ever since I can remember, September has always been the real ‘new year’.

New school bag and pencil case, a new teacher and usually, a shiny pair of shoes that squeaked along the corridors…

Naturally, when most of us went back to work or school earlier this month, there was a real buzz about what is to come and the new challenges we’ll meet. As our minds race forward, we tend to get carried away and even start to think of, dare I say it…Christmas.

There will be plenty of time to enjoy squashes and chestnuts as the months really cool down so why not enjoy the last of the summer’s bounty and take in the last few rays of sun through our food?

This soup is as good on a summer’s day as it is on an Autumnal evening…

Method

In a medium sauce pan, heat up the oil and fry the onions with a pinch of salt on a medium heat until they start to soften, about 7 minutes. Keep the stirring making sure the onions don’t colour too much or start sticking to the pan.

Add the garlic and carry on cooking for another 5 minutes.

Add the courgettes and bay leaves.

Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally and add the water or stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat, covered, for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat the almonds in a little olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt and a small amount of paprika over them.

Toast the almonds under a grill making sure they brown evenly, they mustn’t get too dark or they will be bitter, just a little colour will do.

When the courgettes have softened, discard the bay leaves, add the parsley and blend the soup until smooth. The soup should be fairly thick, you can thin it down with water or milk if you wish.

Taste and season accordingly.
Serve in individual bowls with the flaked almonds on top, a little extra paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. 

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