Courgette and Cucumber Soup with Salmon Ravioli

This is my summery soup. It's really light, with an arrangement of flavors that don't smack you in the face, they dance across your tongue. And it's healthy!

Now, I know it seems involved, but really wasn't. No matter how detailed the recipe below looks, just remember that all you're really doing is blending vegetables and heating them up. All the detail is just to make sure it comes out right. What you're looking for at the end is balance - you want the freshness of the vegetables, with a touch of creaminess, the earthiness of the oregano, the pepper of the cress, the sweetness, but also umami of the salmon. If it were a movie, it'd be an ensemble, but hopefully more Love Actually, less Crash. Enjoy.

Ingredients

For the Soup

- 1 Cucumber

- 3 Courgettes

- 5 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

- 1 Bag of Watercress

- 4 Asparagus Spears per plate

- 1 Tbsp of Cream Cheese

- Sea Salt

- Pepper

- 1/2 cup Fresh Oregano

- Paprika (smoked, sweet or hot)

For the Ravioli Pasta

- Flour

- Eggs

- Olive Oil

- Sea Salt

For the Filling

- Hot Smoked or Fresh Salmon

- Cream Cheese

- Dill (fresh or dried)

- Salt

- Pepper

- 1 White onion, minced

- Lemon Juice

- Capers

Tools

Large mixing bowl for the pasta

Baking tray

Parchment Paper

Chef's Knife

Pasta Machine

Blender

2 Pots, one to boil pasta one to make soup

1 Colander

Something to cut your pasta - cookie cutter, ravioli wheel, knife

Chopping boards

A small egg brush

A bowl, because you have to eat out of something

Method

Filling first. This recipe is about doing things in the order in which they'll wait the longest. The first is about the filling of the ravioli.

Bake the Salmon. I start with cooking the Salmon. If you got hot smoked salmon, you can skip this part. If you got raw salmon, heat your oven to 180 Celsius. Place salmon skin side down on parchment paper. This will need to cooked through, about 20 mins. (you can't really overcook this). Take your minced onion, add a lug of olive oil to a frying pan and on a medium heat, sautee the onions until they're soft and translucent.

Mix other filling ingredients. While it cooks, mix together 2 teaspoons of minced capers, 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, a teaspoon of dried dill and the juice of 1 lemon. Take the onions off the heat, and stir into the mixture. Take the salmon out of the oven, let it cool until you can hold it, then flake it into the cream cheese mixture. Mix thoroughly. Salt, pepper.

Make pasta sheets using a ratio of 1 egg per 100 grams of pasta. I use a three egg mixture with a couple of pinches of salt, and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. I roll them out to a few sheets of really thin pasta, about 3 inches wide. This is on about setting 6 on my pasta machine. Basically, go as thin as you dare, slightly translucent, but without being so thin that you break it with the slightest movement. Delicate is good - the pasta is just the wrapping paper for these little parcels of flavour.

Dust some flour your onto your clean work surface and lay out your sheets of pasta. The mixture made about 24 ravioli for me, but could be more or less for you, depending on how much filling you use. (I used about a heaped teaspoon of mixture per ravioli). On your pasta sheets, place a teaspoon of mixture about every 2-3 inches along the pasta sheet, down the middle. Then with a brush, brush water on the sheet of pasta, all around your filling. This is your glue! Get a second strip of pasta, and lay it over top, starting at one end, and working your way to the other, pushing out as much air as you can as you go. Cut them out with a knife, a suitable size cookie cutter, or if you're so lucky, a ravioli wheel! I like to store them on greaseproof paper dusted lightly with flour until they're ready to cook.

From here, it all happens pretty quickly...

Salt a pot of water boiling for the pasta. When I say salted, SALT THE DAMN WATER. We're talking sea salty.

Soup time. The purpose of this soup is to keep it as raw as possible, preserving as much of that beautiful green as possible. The cooking of the soup seems to break it down and makes it lose that depth of colour.

In a blender/food processor, put in your cucumber, courgettes and oregano, and one cup of water. Turn on high and blend until smooth and moving freely. If you need to, add a little more water so it moves freely. Once smooth, leave it, get a saucepan of a suitable size to contain the soup (big). With a lug or a dollop of your favourite fat (read: BUTTER), really gently poach your garlic in the butter. Let it go translucent and soft, but don't let it go brown. Take it off the heat intermittently if you have to.

Add your soup to the butter and garlic. Heat it through, and stir in cream cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil your ravioli until tender (about 3-4 minutes, depending on your pasta thickness). Last minute, add your asparagus spears to the boiling pasta water. They'll come out at the same time as your ravioli. Once cooked, strain in a colander, add olive oil and give them a really gentle toss. Get yourself a bowl, arrange the blanched asparagus, pour in 2-3 ladles of your soup, (or as much as you want) and place your ravioli on top.

Sprinkle with paprika of your choice, and adorn your meal with a tangle of peppery watercress!

Squeeze of lemon juice to make this sing an octave higher.

Enjoy!

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