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Monday, April 13, 2009

Gazpacho - three times a winner!

Anything miniature is attractive in the food world and no less so when it comes to soup. If you have the time and energy and you’re planning a special dinner party or luncheon, it is fun to serve three different gazpachos together but small portions are essential as each soup is quite filling. I use small coffee cups, three of each soup is an adequate starter size overall.

If you are in a hurry chill the vegetables before blending otherwise chill the finished soup well before serving. I would recommend chilling any gazpacho, whether green, red or white one to two days beforehand. Making gazpacho well in advance allows the flavour to develop and really makes a big difference to the complexity of the soup.

I do not sieve red or green gazpacho after blending – I think the rather course texture suits its Spanish character, giving a rustic appearance – too smooth is not natural for this soup. The white soup comes out perfectly smooth enough due to its content so does not require sieving.

Tabasco flavoured ice cubes not only look aesthetically pleasing in green gazpacho they also contribute to the chill factor and provide a last minute heat shock as they melt, just when it’s needed.

Quickly seared or even finely sliced raw scallops make an interesting garnish to green gazpacho too - surprising the taster with their unexpected, delicate, fishy flavour and adding a dimension of colour.

Ajo Blanco comes from Malaga and looks lovely garnished with toasted almonds and sliced seedless white grapes or a few raisins and some tiny apple pieces tossed in lemon juice.

Tip: If the finished red or green gazpacho is too thin extend either gradually with a little water. Do not do this to white gazpacho – a few hours in the fridge changes the consistency of this white soup dramatically so no extra water is required.

The serving sizes are for six people, meaning: normal size soup bowls. If you use small coffee cups your yield will be far greater.

click here for WHITE GAZPACHO recipe


Serves: 6


3-4 slices white bread, crusts removed
60ml white vinegar
½ bunch celery, chopped
1 telegraph cucumber, deseeded and chopped
2 green kumatoes, coarsely chopped (or other green, ripe tomato)
2 green capsicum, coarsely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
Mint leaves, coriander, cress and lime slices - to garnish


Soak bread in vinegar, in a non-reactive bowl, for 5 minutes. Coarsely chop all the vegetables then place them with the squeezed out bread and everything else in a food processor and whiz until puréed. Season to taste and refrigerate until required.

Tabasco Ice Cubes:

100ml tomato juice
Few drops of Tabasco

Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Serve garnished with finely chopped mint leaves and a little chopped coriander, cress and tiny lime slices. Pop in a Tabasco ice cube or two at the last minute. A few drops of olive oil also look attractive.


Serves: 6


3 slices white bread, crusts removed
500g ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
2 red peppers (capsicum), chopped
1 cucumber, skinned, deseeded and chopped
½ onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
125ml olive oil
2 tablespoons white or sherry vinegar


Cubes of white bread for croutons
Cubes of tomato
Cubes of red pepper
Diced onion
Diced ham (optional)
Diced hard-boiled egg (optional)
Chopped parsley


Roughly break up the bread and pour a little water over it, leave to soak for ten minutes or so. Put the rest of the ingredients into a blender, add the squeezed bread and purée until smooth. Chill at least twenty-four hours or even forty-eight if you have the time. Taste the soup before serving and only add salt if it is required. You may find it does not need it.

Fry the cubes of bread in a little oil, drain on kitchen paper, and serve the soup in bowls with all the garnish ingredients piled on top.

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