Entertaining with Cranks. Yes, that’s the name of this cookbook that I almost overlooked at a library book sale. It’s not until I saw the teeny-tiny subtitle, “Creating Sensational Meals the Vegetarian Way” that I knew I found something good. My edition is from 1987.
The original Cranks was a London vegetarian restaurant that expanded into a chain. However, due to some financial difficulties and eventual buyout only one remains in Devon. The Crank brand also lives on with a line of sandwiches, prepared meals, sauces and breads.
This is a neat little cookbook. The recipes are geared towards feeding guests but are easy enough to make for yourself on a weeknight after work. It’s a small cookbook, but they pack a lot into it from finger foods and entrees to biscuits and drinks. If you are getting ready to have people over, they give you the preparation and cooking times separately in case you need to prep ahead of time.
There is a centerpiece of photos that, although now a bit dated looking, do show several recipes at once in a nice little spread.
This recipe came out really really good. I modified it slightly from the original below by using greek yogurt and left out the lemon juice (as the greek yogurt already has a slightly acidic taste.) I would also either peel the cucumbers or consider straining the soup after it’s had a chance to chill a bit. I had a lot of little pieces of cucumber skin, that my blender couldn’t quite catch, that took away from the smoothness of the soup. Otherwise, this is a phenomenally easy soup to make.
Chilled Cucumber & Yogurt Soup
Entertaining with Cranks
- Large cucumber 1
- Tomatoes 1 lb (450 g)
- Natural yoghourt 1 pint (Note: I used 2 cups greek yogurt.)
- Tomato juice 1/2 pint (1 cup)
- Lemon rind, finely chopped 1 teaspoon
- Lemon juice 1 teaspoon (Note: If using greek yogurt, consider leaving out.)
- Salt and freshly group pepper
- Cayenne pepper, pinch
- Paprika 1/2 teaspoon
- Garlic clove, crushed 1
- Parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon
- Chives, chopped 2 tablespoons
Preparation time 10 – 15 minutes
No cooking required
Cut some thin slices of cucumber, allowing 3 per portion, and reserve for garnishing. Chop the remainder.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender goblet or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. Chill thoroughly. Serve garnished with cucumber slices.