A deconstructed gazpacho with its little salad

Don’t know about you but kitchen is the last place I have wanted to visit these last heat - stunned days. On the basis that thought creates matter, I have spent escapist minutes, ogling at pictures of snow, twenty feet deep, in places whose temperatures drop down to minus 100 and colder.) Short of flying to the northern hemisphere and rolling around naked in the snow, dreaming’s been the best thing on offer. 

So I knew that today’s recipe had to involve ice.  As someone who lives happily on soup and salad, I decided to go double whammy and put the two together. 

Gazpacho is one of those words that can strike fear and loathing into my culinary heart but trust me, I know what I am doing! Watch the de and re construction - I give you a soup, ice cold and tantalising to the soporific nerves and reduced appetites of summer.

It is done in two parts:

The first is a small salad, suitably spiced to waken taste buds and the second is a garlic and chilli studded coulis (say it like coolee – see you feel better already).  It’s very 1990s but if silk slip dresses can make a return to the catwalk (and hooray to that – so over shapeless sacks), I reckon it’s time for a little slink in the kitchen too.


Before we get started, put a litre of water in the freezer and make sure you have a tray of ice cubes there too.


Take three firm, red as red tomatoes, remove the seeds, strain and set aside any juices (in the fridge is good) and chop small the flesh. Peel three Lebanese cucumbers, pert and crisp, cut in half, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and chop the rest similarly small and even.

Then a quarter of a red onion, chopped small, a handful of herbs – I used two kinds of basil, fresh mint, a little flat leaf parsley. Together, they sang.

To that a small tub of super intense, dried black olives(remove stones if you can be bothered, don’t if you can’t!) And 3 or 4 chunks of feta, or Meredith’s goat’s cheese, fridge cold, so it doesn’t immediately turn to mush.

Mix the lot in a bowl with generous sea salt – you need it – plenty of cracked black pepper and that’s it – you don’t even need oil. That’ll come later. Cover and refrigerate.

And now that I’ve lured you in ha ha….take three red peppers and place them on a high flame. Go and dunk your head under a cold shower, or your feet in the pool while the skins char to coal black. Turn over and go back to shower/pool.

Place charred peppers in a bowl, cover with a cloth for 5 minutes or so, till the skins easily come off in your fingers. You know the drill – I probably no longer need to explain this one. Praise be.

Now, exercise all and any tendency to OCD (I don’t need to try very hard). Remove all skin, pith, seeds, black bits. All of it.   And high speed blend the peppers with half a litre of ice - cold water, the reserved tomato juices and a half dozen ice cubes. More salt – you need it. But no black pepper - instead a dash of Tabasco or other favoured (red) chilli condiment.

And now a small mound of the salad in the centre of a bowl and the red pepper coolee poured around.  A drizzle of olive oil, a shred of basil are all the garnish you need. It’s very pretty – see the pic - and tastes of summer (cliché, cliché but hey, it’s hot out there).  

Deconstructed Gazpacho

Don’t know about you but kitchen is the last place I have wanted to visit these last heat - stunned days. On the basis that thought creates matter, I have spent escapist minutes, ogling at pictures of snow, twenty feet deep, in places whose temperatures drop down to minus 100 and colder.) Short of flying to the northern hemisphere and rolling around naked in the snow, dreaming’s been the best thing on offer. 

So I knew that today’s recipe had to involve ice.  As someone who lives happily on soup and salad, I decided to go double whammy and put the two together. 

Gazpacho is one of those words that can strike fear and loathing into my culinary heart but trust me, I know what I am doing! Watch the de and re construction - I give you a soup, ice cold and tantalising to the soporific nerves and reduced appetites of summer.

It is done in two parts:

The first is a small salad, suitably spiced to waken taste buds and the second is a garlic and chilli studded coulis (say it like coolee – see you feel better already).  It’s very 1990s but if silk slip dresses can make a return to the catwalk (and hooray to that – so over shapeless sacks), I reckon it’s time for a little slink in the kitchen too.


Before we get started, put a litre of water in the freezer and make sure you have a tray of ice cubes there too.


Take three firm, red as red tomatoes, remove the seeds, strain and set aside any juices (in the fridge is good) and chop small the flesh. Peel three Lebanese cucumbers, pert and crisp, cut in half, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and chop the rest similarly small and even.

Then a quarter of a red onion, chopped small, a handful of herbs – I used two kinds of basil, fresh mint, a little flat leaf parsley. Together, they sang.

To that a small tub of super intense, dried black olives(remove stones if you can be bothered, don’t if you can’t!) And 3 or 4 chunks of feta, or Meredith’s goat’s cheese, fridge cold, so it doesn’t immediately turn to mush.

Mix the lot in a bowl with generous sea salt – you need it – plenty of cracked black pepper and that’s it – you don’t even need oil. That’ll come later. Cover and refrigerate.

And now that I’ve lured you in ha ha….take three red peppers and place them on a high flame. Go and dunk your head under a cold shower, or your feet in the pool while the skins char to coal black. Turn over and go back to shower/pool.

Place charred peppers in a bowl, cover with a cloth for 5 minutes or so, till the skins easily come off in your fingers. You know the drill – I probably no longer need to explain this one. Praise be.

Now, exercise all and any tendency to OCD (I don’t need to try very hard). Remove all skin, pith, seeds, black bits. All of it.   And high speed blend the peppers with half a litre of ice - cold water, the reserved tomato juices and a half dozen ice cubes. More salt – you need it. But no black pepper - instead a dash of Tabasco or other favoured (red) chilli condiment.

And now a small mound of the salad in the centre of a bowl and the red pepper coolee poured around.  A drizzle of olive oil, a shred of basil are all the garnish you need. It’s very pretty – see the pic - and tastes of summer (cliché, cliché but hey, it’s hot out there).  

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