Chilled beetroot soup

We have arrived at yet another exciting juncture in the seasonal eating calendar. Whilst we still have long evenings and the warmth of air associated with a beautiful British summer, the ground is starting to give up some early autumnal treats. 

When we get the first small beets of the season, there's nothing better at capturing the natural sweetness of beetroots than this chilled soup. It's the perfect start to an evening meal, or can be a wonderful midweek lunch with some toasted sourdough, a swipe of garlic and oil and a crunch of sea salt. Don't forget to keep the leaves and treat them as you would spinach.

Serves 4-6

8-10 young red beetroots, scrubbed
1 medium cucumber, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
200g creme fraiche, plus extra, to serve

Place the beets in a saucepan, with enough water to just cover, and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove the beets from the cooking liquor, allow to cool slightly, and squeeze off the skins. 

Strain the beetroot cooking liquid to remove any dirt. 

Place the peeled beets in a blender and add the cucumber, the grated horseradish, spring onions and a few crunches of black pepper. Start to blend whilst slowly adding the beetroot cooking liquid. Keep adding until you have a smooth soup with the consistency of double cream. 

At this point, add the creme fraiche to the blender and pulse a few times to loosely incorporate it. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt and pepper if necessary. 

Decant into a container and chill in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

Serve with a little more creme fraiche and a final crunch of black pepper.