Corn, zucchini & tomato soup








Fresh corn tastes magical, barely cooked and cut from the cob it has an almost grassy sweet lightness that is otherwise totally lost and catapults it far, far away from possible associations with chicken feed. It only needs a minimum of dressing (butter & salt; lime & chilli; epazote) or other ingredients as company to shine like in this perfect summer salad or today’s soup. This simple dish has become an instant hit at supper time with even the most demanding of customers (small Michelin testers, only ‘slightly’ less well-mannered) and is my go-to summer soup this year.

What I originally only intended for the children is a real winner for all of us when the temperatures are high and even the thought of dinner feels like a lead weight in the stomach. Basil gives it a deserved kick and apart from salt & pepper there is no other seasoning necessary. Served lukewarm or even cold like a Gazpacho it transports well in a Thermos for a picnic or beach/pool day and can be spooned (in it’s thicker version) or sipped from cups.

Measurements or proportions are intentionally given in a lackadaisical way since the sizes of these veg can vary and I tend to use the stuff I’ve got in my veg box and anyway, who wants to fuss about a soup on a hot day?


More summer soups & salads: corn-tomato-basil salad; pea shooter, chickpea salad with cucumber, tomatoes & peppers, broad bean bruschette, lettuce cups with red pepper-lentil balls;


Corn zucchini tomato soup

Sweet corn-zucchini-tomato soup


2-3 ears of sweet corn
1 zucchino / courgette
3-6 tomatoes or 1/3 bottle tomato passata
chicken or vegetable stock
salt, pepper


Cut the corn of the cob and chop all other ingredients. Place in a saucepan with a little chicken stock to taste and cook for the briefest of time, maybe 10 minutes. Season, add freshly torn basil, puree and pass through a sieve to get rid of all the corn kernel skins for a smoother soup. Serve a thicker puree/soup for small babies and a thinner version for more adult eaters at room temperature or even cooled.



Corn-tomato-basil salad



Recipe in German at the end of this post / Das Rezept gibt es auch auf Deutsch, siehe unten.



Jenny Rosenstrach is quite stern about having this salad, no excuses. And boy, is she right! Everything is in season: sun-ripened tomatoes, the sweet corn is fresh & local and many times just pinched picked of the stalk, the dark green basil overwhelmingly fragrant. These prime ingredients only need a little dressing of oil & I think a squeeze of lime. At the utmost, perhaps a pinch of chilli for a spicy kick but that’s it and you’ve got a wonderful summer salad, a refreshing side Continue reading

Aubergine involtini

Aubergine involtini by the james kitchen
Aubergine involtini, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.
I loved these little involtini which were only supposed to be a starter when I had made them for the first time out of leftovers and larder (pantry) treasures. I did like them so much in fact that I ate them all for supper and ditched the main course altogether. The sauce here was a Concassée de tomates aux olives confites – a jar which I had brought back from France and had awaited patiently in the larder to be used. Well, now the jar is empty and gone (so has the shop where it was from) I would just use a simple long simmered tomato sauce with a few added olices.
Aubergine involtini

1 or 2 Aubergine, cut in 5mm slices lenghtwise

olive oil

1 Chavroux goats cheese or any fresh goats cream cheese

chervil, tarragon, parsley, basil, chives

salt, pepper

tomato sauce (recipe follows)

Heat a griddle pan and brush the aubergine slices with a little olive oil and grill from both sides. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.
Chop the herbs and mix with the cheese, season to taste.
Place a dollop of the herb-cheese mixture at the end of an aubergine slice and roll tightly. Tuck the end underneath and place each one on a plate. Place a small amount of tomato sauce on top.
quick tomato & olive sauce
olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small garlic clove, chopped
a few black olives, chopped
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes
sea salt, pepper, sugar
Pour a little bit of olive oil into a sauce pan and add the onion, leaving it to soften over medium to low heat. Stir from time to time until the onion has turned translucent and glossy. Add the garlic and black olives to soften as well. Pour in the tomatoes and season with a pinch of sugar, pepper and only a little bit of salt. Let it simmer while stirring occasionally for quite a while until the sauce has thickened considerably. It should not be too runny. Check for seasoning.