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Soup?...chilled!

At this seminal moment in our time we are witnessing the sighting of a large bright and hot spherical object occupying the vast majority of our skyline but do not panic - it will pass. However in the meantime lets indulge in some sunny delights.

At this seminal moment in our time we are witnessing the sighting of a large bright and hot spherical object occupying the vast majority of our skyline but do not panic - it will pass. However in the meantime lets indulge in some sunny delights. When the temperature rises I crave light, spicy and fresh food; I'm thinking seared scallops, chorizo and rocket with zesty lemon; charred n sticky bbq'ed chicken thighs with cooling tomato and lime salsa or hot, sweet n sour chilli fired Thai salads. All good but what about and let me doff my cheffie cap to Peter Kay's funniest moment. "Chilled soup!...soup!....chilled!"? Yeh cold soup! And why not? Well first of all they are incredibly easy; no mind warping instructions or elusive ingredients, often not even any cooking involved; all you need is a bunch of vegetables - often leftovers or loners from the bottom of the veg drawer - a very rough recipe guide and a blender of some description. Once whizzed up it sits in the fridge and can be served up at a swanky dinner party in a jiffy and everyone will think you're a genius! It's also a very convenient snack and I often find myself slurping on a mug of Gazpacho on the hoof mid-afternoon or early evening. And so without further ado or mentions of long hot summers, bbq's or hazy chilled days of wine and Rose (let's not put the hex on it) indulge yourself in chilled soup; simple,elegant and refreshing - a bit like you... on a good day.

 

Gazpacho

 

For the soup

1kg/2lb 4oz ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 green pepper, seeds removed, chopped

1 small red onion or 6 spring onions, chopped

½ cucumber, peeled

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 small handful fresh basil leaves

50ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish

1 day-old baguette, thinly sliced

olive oil

pinch paprika

2 boiled eggs chopped

4 ice cubes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 spring onions or ½ red onion, finely chopped

½ red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped

½ yellow pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped

fresh basil leaves

Preparation method

1. For the soup, place all of the vegetables, garlic and basil for into a

food processor and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture through a

fine sieve to remove most of the pulp and skin, which you should

then discard.

2. Lightly rinse the bowl of the food processor to remove any pulp and

skin, then pour the sieved soup back into the food processor. Blend

again, while slowly pouring in the extra virgin olive oil through the

feeder, followed by the sherry vinegar, until well combined. Season,

to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Transfer the soup to a container and chill, covered, in the fridge until

ready to serve.

5. Place the slices of baguette onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive

oil. Season the baguette slices with paprika and salt, then toast

under the grill for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all

over.

6. To serve, place an ice cube into each serving bowl and ladle over the

soup. Float the crisp baguette slices over the soup, scatter over the

finely chopped spring onions, boiled eggs and peppers and garnish with a few

basil leaves.

Chilled cucumber, pea and dill soup;

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

6 large spring onions, washed and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

500ml/18fl oz vegetable stock chilled

1 cucumber washed and chopped

675g/1lb 8oz shelled fresh or frozen peas

1 iceberg lettuce, washed and chopped

Large handful of freshly chopped mint

1 large handful chopped dill

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

To serve

Fresh dill sprigs

4 tbsp natural yoghurt

Toasted baguette slices

Handfull of frozen peas

Drizzle of olive oil

Preparation method

1.Place all in ings in large container and blend with handblender or do it in batches in a food processor.

2.Adjust the seasoning if required and chill for min 2 hrs.

3.To serve ladel into bowls and top with sprigs of dill, yoghurt, toasted baguette slices, drizzle of olive oil and frozen peas.