Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Cold soup is a treasure of Summer weather. Some countries (eg India and the Middle East) have a whole cuisine of cold drinks that are sipped in the extreme weather of the hottest periods of the year, and countries such as Spain have a cuisine of cold soups to slurp in similar weather. Here, we have neither although our weather in Summer equals or exceeds that of those countries. It is a puzzle why that is.

Never fear, here in our little patch of Australia, both cold soups and cold drinks prevail in hot weather.  From the simplest (juice tomatoes with a tiny piece of chill, serve as a soup with basil, spring onions, black pepper, sea salt) to beautiful but out of fashion vichyssoise varieties.

Today we make a Gazpacho style soup with watermelon as well as tomato. It is delicious on a hot Summer evening, eating on the deck or verandah with friends and family. Serve as a soup, or even as a savoury drink, like you might serve a tomato juice – leave the bread out if you are going to serve it this way. Sipped or slurped, it is wonderful.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, from Plenty More, although I have added some cucumber back into the recipe. I love its juice and can’t imagine a gazpacho without it. It makes a difference. Sometimes, I have also added the juice of zucchinis (surprisingly delicious and cooling) in the past too, because I had a glut of them, and it is delicious. It is such a light and delicious soup, and easy to make – you will want to make it all Summer.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Coriander and Lemongrass VichyssoiseGazpacho,  and Cold Avocado Soup.

Browse all of our Cold Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Pimento Peppers Stuffed with Tomatoes and Feta

On a recent trip to our Central Adelaide Market, these most gorgeous pimentos were available from the organic vegetable store.  They are the sweet capsicum variety that is used to stuff olives. You’ve seen pimento stuffed olives of course. Did you know that in the 1800s, chopped pimento was shot by hydraulic pump into end of each olive, inserting the pimento while, at the same time, ejecting the pit out of the other end. Now pimentos are pureed then formed into strips with a natural gum, for the easy mechanisation of olive stuffing.

Pimentos can be stuffed too, and we do them  in the traditional way – filling them with tomatoes and garlic and topping with feta. The skin of the pimento is quite thick, so we slow bake them to allow the tomatoes to soften down and the pimento to also become tender. We love stuffed vegetables and are glad that they are making inroads again into the fashionable food world.

We have a similar recipe for stuffing capsicums, one that drizzles the cooked capsicums with a delicious herb oil. Other similar recipes include Capsicums Stuffed with Kidney Beans and Feta, and Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices. Also try Lauki Melon with Tomato and Feta.

Browse all of our Stuffed recipes, and our Capsicum dishes.  We have a couple of Spanish dishes to check out. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Crispy Cauliflower with Capers

This dish of deep fried cauliflower is from Spain. The cauliflower is dusted in chickpea flour (gram flour) and deep fried  until crisp. Then, like the old fashioned beach-made fish and chips, sprinkled with plenty of salt and vinegar. In a modern day twist, capers are added. It makes a great snack, mezze dish, entree (starter) or side dish.

There are a range of traditional dishes that deep fry cauliflower. Think of Cauliflower Pakora, for example. Even Ottolenghi makes a salad or side dish of deep fried cauli with a tahini sauce. There’s Southern Fried Cauliflower, Fried Cauliflower Steaks, Moroccan Fried Cauliflower, Cauliflower Tempura, and many more such recipes. There is a simple reason for so many dishes. It tastes very very good. This recipe will knock your socks off.

Similar dishes include Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips, Cauliflower and Okra Pakora, Roasted Cauliflower Soup, and Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes. All of our Snacks are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Ensalada

A salad for every day.

Ensalada is a Spanish salad of perfect tomatoes and mild, sweet onion slices. It is found around the world in countries or regions that have had a Spanish influence in their history. Ensalada is centre on the table at meal times. They can be simple with just the 2 perfect ingredients dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar, or they can have addition ingredients added to the simple base. In this way, the salad can vary from day to day, yet still feature the 2 main ingredients. A few olives, some cucumber slices, a little cos lettuce, a tiny amount of soft herb. A salad that is sweet, cool and fresh.

Made this way, the salad is perfect. Over stuffed with numerous additions, it is no longer ensalada, but a mish mash of complex flavours that negate the beautiful simplicity of the traditional way of serving this salad.

Similar recipes include this terrific Tomato Salad, Tomato Salad with Parsley Oil, Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, Cherry and Hazelnut Salad, and Tomato Salad with Green Olives.

You can find other  Tomato Salads here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Quick Gazpacho

Cold soups are all the rage at our place in Summer – the hot Summer days of over 35C, often over 40C, demand cooling foods, yet we still want them to be nourishing and healthy. In our garden there are often tomatoes to spare, and so making Gazpacho, that Spanish delicious cold soup, makes such sense.

This is a quick version, takes no more than the time it takes to wash the tomatoes and peel the cucumber. I like these ratios, but nothing is fixed and you can play around with this delicious blender formula. Add a few herbs, lemon instead of vinegar, a small amount of fresh green or red chilli. Enjoy yourself as you make variations on this theme.

Are you looking for cold soups? Try this quick Tomato and Cucumber Cold SoupTomato and Watermelon Gazpacho, Beautiful Cold Avocado Soup, Chilled Beetroot Soup, and Roast Tomato and Corn Cold Soup.

What about Cucumber recipes? Try Cucumber Salad with Ricotta and Capers, Cucumber Raita, and Cucumber Lassi.

Try these Tomato recipes – Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, Italian Tomato Sauce, and Tomato and Peach Salad.

You can browse all of our Cold Soup recipes, all of our Tomato recipes, and all of our Cucumber recipes. Have a look at our Tomato Soups, Cucumber Soups, or all of our Soups, hot and cold. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Tomato Paella | Vegetarian Paella

A Spanish hit

Maybe it is the soccer world cup being held in Europe that is turning my tastes that way. Maybe I am on a tomato and rice kick. Maybe RED is my colour of the moment. Whatever the cause, I found myself looking for a paella the other night.

There is a history to paella in my life. I first came across it at Carclew Arts Centre in North Adelaide years ago when my daughter was involved in some summer classes there. Carclew had an open day of food, performances and exhibitions. One food stall was cooking an amazing open pan rice dish – the wait was 15 minutes until it was ready to serve – and the taste of it was so fantastic it took me by surprise. Continue reading “Tomato Paella | Vegetarian Paella”