## According to Chinese medicine when there is damp in the air, this is a time to get plenty of sleep to boost immunity and strength and to eat warming meals balanced with sour. So, let food be your medicine and snuggle in for this recipe of creamy courgette and cashew nut soup that is spiced with lime and smoked paprika.
Courgettes are readily available throughout the year. If you have your own allotment or vegetable box delivery they will be at the end of their season, and maybe have transformed into big fat marrows that can be a little tough, so they are perfect for use in soups and casseroles. Here, they are combined with cashews. As well as their health-giving properties of high levels of iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus and manganese…they lend a creaminess to the soup that you would only otherwise get with real cream. Lime and paprika add our touch of pungent sour and a boost of vitamin C.
CREAMY COURGETTE AND CASHEW NUT SOUP WITH LIME
2 large courgettes or 1 marrow
1 Salad onion
2 garlic cloves crushed
Olive oil for marinade and frying
1 1/2 handfuls of raw cashew nuts
1 1/2 pints of vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to season
Juice of 1 lime
Sprinkle of paprika
First using a vegetable peeler, grate wide strips of the courgette so you have a line of the green and the white. You will need 2 strips per person. Squeeze the lime juice and leave to marinate with a teaspoon of sea salt and a tablespoon of virgin extra olive oil. Toast a few cashew nuts and also leave to one side to use later as decoration.
Finely slice the salad onion and heat olive oil gently in the bottom of a large saucepan. Fry the onion till transparent then add the garlic. Stir for two minutes then add the roughly chopped courgettes. Stir to make sure ingredients not sticking on the bottom, then leave to sweat over a gentle heat with the pan lid on.
Bring the stock to boil, then add to the soup base. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Add the rest of cashew nuts and blend in a liquidizer. If your soup is not creamy enough, return to the stove to reduce a little more. Strain the marinade juice into the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. When you are ready to serve, warm soup and place in bowls. Decorate with the marinated courgette strips, the toasted cashew nuts and a sprinkling of paprika.
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