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Sadly for Australian readers, the best of British spring/summer seasonal food has, via the markets, gripped my imagination, so recipes like this one (not nearly as exciting in an Aussie winter) may just need to be saved for a few months. Sorry.

Gazpacho

Ingredients (makes 4 serves)

  • 1kg very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green and 1 red pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sherry or wine vinegar
  • 100g (4 slices) day-old white bread (crusts removed and soaked in water for an hour)
  • a pinch of cumin (to taste)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 glasses of water
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Put the tomatoes, peppers and cucumber in a large bowl.
  2. Add the garlic, oil and vinegar. The correct amounts of oil and vinegar make the difference between good and delicious gazpacho, and you must use extra-virgin olive oil for the perfect flavour.
  3. Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add it, stirring the ingredients together.
  4. Pour into a blender and mix gently.
  5. Once you have a smooth consistency use the back of a ladle to push the soup through a sieve, and if it’s too thick add water – as gazpacho is eaten cold it should taste light and refreshing and have a liquid consistency.
  6. Add the cumin and salt, cover and refrigerate until cold.
  7. Serve with small bowls of the soup ingredients to garnish to taste

Notes

  • This recipe is lifted from here, after seeing it in yesterday’s Observer Magazine  – it is from Elena Meneses de Orozco, the wife of the Spanish ambassador. She says, in theinterview with Laura Potter:

“When we were little, my sister and I used to help my mother make gazpacho. Every household in Spain has a slightly different version, but my mother taught me this one and I’ve passed it on to the embassy chef, Rafael Perez. The traditional recipe was just water, bread, vinegar and garlic (poor vineyard workers ate it while working). The tomatoes and peppers were added when Columbus brought them to Spain in 1492. Now, summer isn’t summer without gazpacho – every family in Spain eats it every day for three months.”

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I have been neglecting the food blog for ages, despite some plodding, but have been inspired by my friend Felicity’s zeal for Taste.com.au and Alexandra’s kind word of mouth referrals. This is a bit of a favourite over the last few weeks as it is easy, keeps well and is healthy/cheap/delicious. This recipe is based on this one, with a range of modifications after some testing.

Zucchini Slice

Ingredients (makes 5 serves as main, 15 as snack/canape)

  • 5 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 375g / 2 or 3 large zucchini, grated (I prefer a fine grater)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100-200g ham or rindless bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • chilli flakes (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm lamington tin – I use two strips of baking paper that can later act help you lift it out – overlapped in a cross shape.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined, sift in the the flour and beat until smooth.
  4. Add zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and oil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and chilli if using to give it a kick.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Slice into squares and serve warm with a salad/vegies. Delicious cold the next day – reheats well.

Notes

  • Variations have included – leeks with the onion, both pre-cooked. Leeks worked well, and pre-cooking for a few minutes meant I could use oil and juices from the pan in place of the 1/4 cup above.
  • Can also scatter some cheese on top before or during cooking.