Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A new toy to play with (and a finely-chopped gazpacho)

The heat wave may unfortunately be over, but still, after a day of scooting around the city, hurriedly attending to one's business, a clean, refreshing chilled soup will rarely go amiss.

Since I can afford to be a little more leisurely with my business at this particular time, I'm able there are plenty of opportunities for indulging in some of life's simple pleasures... After having purchased a dazzingly sharp new knife, I can think of few things more desirable than to while away a little while turning some ripe fruits and vegetables into a zesty, mellow-spiced gazpacho.

If you are more pushed for time, you can also mix the soup in a blender, although a few hand-sliced tomatoes, peppers and herbs will make all the difference.

Watermelon and mint gazpacho

When making this gazpacho, I basically chopped all the fruit, vegetables, and soft herbs we had to hand... The classic gazpacho is made from little more than tomato, pepper, cucumber and garlic - use that as your base and take it from there.

Serves 6 to 8, depending on portion size

six vine tomatoes, very finely chopped
two small red onions, very finely chopped
a spring onion, finely sliced
two red peppers, very finely chopped
one small cucumber, very finely chopped
flesh of a large slice of watermelon (roughly an eighth of the whole fruit), seeds removed, very finely chopped
half a head of cos lettuce or a couple of little gem, finely shredded
two cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
one red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
the juice of half a lemon and half a lime
a bunch of parsley, very finely chopped
a bunch of basil, very finely chopped
a bunch of mint, very finely chopped
half a litre of cold vegetable stock
a litre of tomato juice
a dash of red wine (or red wine vinegar)
Tobasco and/or Worcestershire sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Croutons and olive oil to serve

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl or pot, except for the croutons, olive oil, and chopped green herbs. Season, and leave to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour, if not up to four hours.

Serve with croutons, a sprinkling of herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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