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For anyone that’s ever grown courgettes, and then gone away for a week or two, then you’ll know about the beasts that can exist under those spiky leaves. We’d been to Portugal, and extended our stay at my parents as we needed another holiday after the holiday. So, two weeks later and when I next went to the allotment I was met with the beast. I quickly twisted him off (so as to encourage more suitably sized courgettes to grow), and then forgot about him for a couple of days.

And then tonight’s dinner occurred.

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I was going to do some kind of thai prawn thing (sorry cats), but then I was re-acquainted with the beast. As it’s home-grown I really didn’t want to let it sit unattended for any longer, and knew that given its size and watery nature, it needed to be made into soup. Soup was fine by me, given the rainy wind-swept start to the day where I’d been struggling with a broken umbrella, trying desperately not to stab Abel in the eye with it.

Fighting a cold, I needed some added heat, so it has some kick. The chorizo crisps really set it off. I made the soup in advance whilst Abel slept off the umbrella ordeal and Molly worked on her artwork. Even had time to make bread, and the stock from scratch (forgot to buy stock). Phew. Light the fire.

The Stock

Few unsightly carrots

Half a leek

Onion, peeled and chopped in half

Half a dozen peppercorns

2 bay leaves

Sprig of parsley

Few sprigs of thyme

1 litre of water

Simmer for at least an hour, then strain.

The Soup

Chunk of chorizo (inch thick, two inches in diameter), finely chopped

4 red onions finely sliced

1 huge courgette / small marrow, diced

1 litre vegetable stock

Glug of cider vinegar

100ml whole milk

Bunch of coriander, chopped

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Seasoning

To Serve:

Hot homemade bread or baguette

Chorizo crisps (thin slices of chorizo fried in a dry frying pan)

Greek yoghurt

Melt a large knob of butter in a large saucepan, fry the chorizo until just smokey and browning. Remove from pan. Add another knob of butter and on a low heat sweat down the onions with a teaspoon of golden caster sugar. Fry until caramelised. Then remove. Add another knob of butter; fry the courgettes on high heat until a lot of water has come out. Then blitz, adding the vinegar and stock as you go. Next return to heat, pour in the milk, and either keep ‘til ready to eat or continue by adding the cayenne pepper, seasoning and lastly coriander. Serve piping hot with the bread and chorizo crisps and perhaps a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

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