Florentine Lemongrass soup

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Spinach is one of those super foods that you can literally feel the goodness seeping into your body with every mouthful. When Catherine de Medici became Queen of France in 1533, she was so taken by spinach that she insisted it be served at every meal. Dishes that are cooked with spinach are known as ‘Florentine’, after Catherine’s place of birth – Florence. Hence the name I have given this delicious soup.

I know I tend to say this a lot in my blogs, but this really is super easy and takes no time at all – so perfect for a light lunch or for a starter when guests are coming over. You can prepare it in advance, freeing you up to have proper conversation without the worry of having to prepare the starter. Have you ever tried making souffles for a starter? Well believe me, the results are delicious, but it does involve a lot of care and attention and time away from your guests to get it right.

You can absolutely use fresh spinach here, but I often tend to use frozen as I always have bags of it in the freezer. This soup is versatile in that it tastes equally good in the summer or winter.

Florentine Lemongrass Soup

Serves 4-6

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped

2 tsp of lemongrass paste (I use Barts)

1kg of spinach, frozen or fresh

2 pints/40 fl oz vegetable stock

400ml tin of coconut milk

juice of 2 limes

single cream to garnish, if desired

salt and pepper

1. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and then fry the onions gently until they begin to become transparent – this should not take more than six minutes. Then add the garlic and chillies continuing to stir for a few minutes.

2. Add the vegetable stock and lemongrass paste and gently simmer for five minutes. Then add the frozen or fresh spinach and cover until they have completely wilted/defrosted. Once this has happened use a hand blender to blend the soup thoroughly.

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3. Add the coconut milk and lime juice and blend once again. Season to taste and garnish with single cream if desired.

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