Now that summer has finally arrived one of my favourite things to eat for lunch is gazpacho. It’s quick to make, healthy and wonderfully refreshing – what more could a girl want? Although I enjoy cooking, and don’t as a rule buy alot of processed foods, I must confess that, until recently I have always bought ready-made gazpacho. There are several different brands on sale in our local supermarket so a couple of weeks ago when I was visiting some farmers in Almeria in southern Spain (more about that visit in my next blog), I asked my hosts which brand they thought was the best and most authentic. My question was met with a look of complete bewilderment. Why would I buy ready-made gazpacho when it’s so easy to make, they wanted to know. That is, of course, an excellent question. So yesterday I thought I’d give it a go. I’m happy to report that it really could not be easier to make – once all the ingredients were assembled it took less than 5 minutes to make, and without wishing to appear too boastful it tasted utterly delicious. If you want to see a short film of me making gazpacho click on this link
Although gazpacho is a classic dish from the Andalucían area of Spain, I suspect the recipe is fairly flexible. However the one thing that is absolutely essential for the dish is ripe tomatoes. Gazpacho needs to be served well chilled so although it only takes a couple of minutes to make it’s worth making it a couple of hours before you want to eat it so you have time to chill it properly. I like to add an ice cube just before serving and garnish the gazpacho with small cubes of red and green pepper, diced avocado, mild Spanish onion. If I’m serving it as a first course for a dinner party I like to add a swirl of fresh pesto, although I suspect that might cause a few raised eyebrows among the Spanish farmers!
As well as a tasty nutritious lunch it’s also a great dish to serve as a starter for a summer dinner party. It’s diet friendly and suitable for all sorts of special diets including dairy free, vegetarian, vegan. Although the recipe below uses bread if you’re following a gluten or wheat free diet simply leave the bread out and then it would be gluten free too.
Serves 6 – 8
1kg ripe tomatoes
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled
100g white bread
150mls olive oil
3tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To garnish: some or all of the following – diced red and green pepper, Spanish onion, avocado, cucumber, fresh pesto, fresh mint, black olives,
Soak the bread in a bowl of cold water for 10-15mins, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. If you like a smooth soup pass the mixture through a sieve to remove seeds and skins (I did this the first time I made the recipe but didn’t bother the second time and it tasted just as good). Chill for at least an hour and then serve garnished with whatever takes your fancy.
Per serving: based of 6 servings
8g sugar – 9%
19g fat – 28%
3g saturated fat – 15%
0.3g salt – 5%
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Nutritionally there is no significant difference between black and green olives. The colour of olives is determined by the ripeness of the fruit when it is picked.
Stories regarding diet and nutrition can become a little dry if thought, insight and passion aren’t put into them. Fiona packs them in in droves and brings any topic she is commenting on to life.
I love working with Fiona because she has that rare ability to marry nutrition, PR and media all together. Her incredible knowledge of nutrition and her creativity makes her a dream for any PR to work with. With her journalism background she always meets deadlines and in my opinion exceeds the brief always.
It’s hard to find a nutritionist who cares as much about delicious food as I do but Fiona does. She understands that while I want my food to be healthy I also want it to be delicious so when we worked together on Skinny Weeks, Weekend Feasts she worked with me to make sure the recipes were healthy but stayed true to themselves. Beyond that, she’s great fun and super to work with.