“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.”   Abraham Maslow.

Some are born with a desire for soup others have soup thrust upon them. I got hit on the second wave.

As a schoolboy soup didn’t figure prominently in my life. School dinners were mostly inedible and frequently untrustworthy, soup straddled both concerns. Soup at home always began life in a can, rather than the kitchen, and was associated more with convalescence than pleasure. When recovering from a winter’s cold, Heinz Tomato Soup always appeared – as if by magic. I enjoyed it until a day of apostasy when I twigged that the fresh tomatoes, which I had always enjoyed, never tasted like the soup that had stolen their name. Thanks to Heinz, I had been dining with a stranger. Now, when the season bestows, I make my own. And it’s not my homegrown ingredients that can claim sole responsibility for my change of heart, it has been the purchase of a stick blender. A piece of equipment, now valued beyond measure, frequently pressed into service, and one that can turn an entire allotment into soup, should the need ever arise.

So at that time of the year when a carpet of green and yellow courgettes (zucchini) are begging to be harvested, and long before they reach the size of small zeppelins (marrows), and everyone in rural villages starts palming the damn things off on their formerly esteemed neighbours – it’s time for a Courgette Soup. And this one is first-rate.

Zucchini Soup (Soupe aux Courgettes) from French Farm House Cookbook (1996) Susan Herrmann Loomis

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

1 kg courgette (zucchini), grated

500 ml chicken or vegetable stock

500 ml water

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Zucchini flowers or basil leaves to garnish

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat

Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes

Add the zucchini and stir to blend with the onion, then add the liquids

Increase the heat just enough to bring the soup to the boil, then decrease it so the soup is simmering merrily

Cook, covered, until zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes

Season to taste with salt and pepper

Purée the soup in a processor or with your trusty stick blender

Adjust the seasoning, add zucchini flowers or torn basil and serve; hot or cold

Wine thoughts

I would opt for a Viognier, and certainly a less expensive version found in the south of France than from its hallowed home; Condrieu, in the Rhône valley. Due to a recent fondness amongst wine drinkers, it has become ever more widely available. Dry but deceptively full-bodied, with beguiling aromas of peach and apricot almost as though freshly picked from sun-drenched orchards, you should find this a surprisingly good partner.