JUST CHILLIN' OK, it's hot and you don't feel like cooking. Let's face it; nobody wants to be slaving over a hot stove in these temperatures. So when the heat is on and you can feel yourself sapping under the intense summer sun, nothing quite hits the spot like “Gazpacho”, the refreshing, chilled soup that Spain is so famous for.
Gazpacho, a hearty and pungent soup that has gained fame throughout the world for its amazing thirst-quenching quality is the perfect thing to combat the long, arid Spanish summers. Often described as a liquid salad, gazpacho has humble, peasant origins and was originally made by pounding bread, water and garlic in a pestle and mortar long before the arrival of the tomato and the discovery of the new world. In modern times, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers were added, and then spiked with a little olive oil and vinegar. Since that time, gazpacho has remained relatively unchanged - an unpretentious soup designed to quench the thirst evoked by the unrelenting Spanish sun. It is really easy to make and keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. In fact, it quite often tastes better the day after as the flavours become more pronounced.
It's also a really healthy start to a meal and makes for a great snack at lunchtimes. You can also pour it into a flask to keep cool and take it to the beach or wherever. “Ajoblanco Malagueño”, sometimes called “gazpacho blanco” (white gazpacho) is another delightful chilled soup from Malaga that is also worth trying during the summer months.
It is made with freshly peeled almonds, a couple of garlic cloves, some white bread soaked in milk with a few drops of sherry vinegar and olive oil. It is extremely refreshing and is normally served garnished with fresh grapes. For other alternatives, why not try a chilled tomato and basil soup, peppery watercress or a cold potato and chervil soup. Pumpkin and lime is refreshing and carrot and orange is energising and will also help your suntan along.
Chilled soups also make wonderfully light, healthy desserts and they don't have to be boring at all.
On my current Bistro 33 menu we have a chilled melon and lime soup with a lemon verbena frappe and other personal favourites of mine include a spiced mango soup with a chocolate sorbet and the ever popular Strawberry Gazpacho soup spiked with olive oil and sherry vinegar.
So stay in the shade and chill out with cold soups this summer, you'll be glad you did.
GAZPACHO ANDALUZ serves 4 · 4 ripe tomatoes
l 2 Cucumbers, peeled and chopped
· 2 green peppers
l Medium onion, peeled and chopped
· 2tbsp sherry vinegar
· 200ml good olive oil
· 2tbsp tomato puree
· 200g yesterdays bread
· 2 Garlic cloves
· 500ml cold water
· 6 Ice cubes
l 2tbsp mayonnaise (optional) l Salt / pepper l Place all the ingredients, except the mayonnaise, in a bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Place in a food processor and blend to a fine consistency. Pass through a fine sieve, whisk in the mayonnaise, chill and serve in a soup tureen.
VICHYSSOISE l 250g sliced leeks (white part only)
· 250g peeled and quartered potatoes
· 30g butter
· 1.5l light chicken stock
· 300ml cream
l Bunch of chives (chopped)
l Gently sweat the leeks and potatoes in the butter then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Puree in a food processor and pass through a fine sieve. Add the cream and season to taste. Chill in the refrigerator. Finally, stir in the chopped chives and serve.
CHILLED MANGO AND CARDAMOM SOUP WITH
A BITTER CHOCOLATE AND GOATS MILK SORBET
· 500ml fresh mango puree
l 8 Cardamom pods (crushed)
· 250ml sugar syrup
l Boil the sugar syrup with the cardamom pods and add mango puree, pass through a fine sieve and chill for at least 3 hours
CHOCOLATE AND GOATS MILK SORBET
· 400ml water
l 100ml goat's milk
· 150g sugar
· 40g glucose
· 30g cocoa powder
l 100g bitter chocolate (chopped) l Boil water, milk, sugar and glucose. Remove from the heat and whisk in cocoa powder and chocolate. Churn in a sorbet machine until smooth. Pour a little mango soup in the bottom of chilled soup bowls. Place a large spoonful of chocolate sorbet in the middle and serve.