My garden brings me great joy, gentle exercise, and occasionally a generous glut of gorgeous vegetables
As you may have noticed from all my whinging, it has been hot. Very hot. And sometimes cooking is much less appealing than usual- I just don't want to turn on my oven or hot plates at all, or stand outside in the sun to use the bbq either
The perfect answer to avoiding the heat while still feeding my family fresh, healthy meals gathered from the garden is Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a peasant dish from southern Spain, around about Andalusia, where all these delightful veggies grow in abundance throughout Summer as well. As it's been around for many, many years, I figure that I'll stick with the classics and enjoy a night off from the heat for a change!
Gorgeous Garden Gazpacho- start a day earlier than serving for best results
1- 1/2 kg fresh Tomatoes
1 Red Capsicum
1 or 2 cloves of Garlic
1/2 - 1 mild Chilli
2 slices gf Bread
1-2 tab Sherry Vinegar
3-4 tab good Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Time to trim the veggies:
Make sure you remove all the seeds and membrane from the capsicum. The seeds are yucky and hard and the membrane can be bitter, so best to take it all out
As my cucumbers are nice and young and very fresh I won't bother peeling them or taking the seeds out. The seeds and peel can be quite bitter as well if they're not in they're prime, so best to remove them if you're not sure
Now, if you wanted to be fussy, you could blanch and peel the tomatoes as well- but why bother I say! Just roughly chop them a very little and you're done. Now a little tip from our friend Heston- he recommends leaving a bit of the tomato stalk to simmer with tomatoes when making a sauce as it adds a lot of fragrance and flavour. I'll add mine in after the blending while it's soaking for a very easy flavour boost
Peel the garlic and depending on how much of a buzz you want, you can leave the seeds in the chilli if you like
Quickly splash the bread with a good glug of water
Then squeeze the excess away. The bread will add a nice bit of body and almost a bit of 'creaminess' to the texture as well
Everything ready to go!
Bung it all in to a food processor or blender with the olive oil
Then whizz, whizz away until nice and smooth
Of course you could just eat this soup as is with all the veggies bits mixed in, and it's quite nice really, but to be authentic and fancy you need to strain the whole lot leaving the solids behind
Nice and smooth and clear
Test the fresh flavours, then mix in a tablespoon or so of the sherry vinegar to taste. The vinegar will add a sweet sharpness that works beautifully with the veggies, but be careful not to overdo it as the flavours will continue to mellow and develop overnight. Time to pop in the tomato stalk as well and let it do it's magic....
Let the soup sit covered in the fridge overnight
Before serving, check the flavours- does it need salt, a splash more vinegar, a pinch of sugar if your veggies aren't home grown? If it's very thick it's ok to thin it out a with just a little chilled water.
Serve straight from the fridge, and drizzle with a little more olive oil just as you serve to finish off one of the nicest soups you'll have all Summer- I promise
For a bit of added yumminess I served my soup up with some more of the bread topped with soft goat cheese- delicious!
So Dear Readers, what do you think of cold soup and do you like goat cheese too?