Hot Summer days require cool Summer soups and here is one that you can make really easily – and then pimp at your leisure. Cucumber, peppers, red onion, garlic and tomatoes are blended with olive oil, vinegar, smoked paprika and a touch of cumin to create a cool, slightly spicy treat. The traditional recipe uses a piece of stale bread soaked in water, but this cleaner version does not need it. There are green gazpachos, yellow ones and seriously spicy versions you can make with jalapenos or other chilies. But here is the one you can knock up at home and serve with just a few crunchy veg, chopped avocado, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a couple of ice cubes for garnish.
**Nutrition Notes: This is a soup that will bathe you in anti-oxidants! Tomatoes contain lycopene - a heart protector that is more easily absorbed with olive oil. Garlic and onions are anti-viral and a blood cleansing (especially raw!). Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C and cucumber is naturally cooling and cleansing. An amazing way to prepare your body for a BBQ ;-)
To serve 6-8 as a starter, you will need:
1 kilo of fresh tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
half a large red onion
one whole cucumber
2 large red peppers, or one red one green
3 fat cloves of garlic
10 tablepoons of olive oil
5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
200-300ml ice cold water
one large avocado - chillled for garnish at the end
Simply roughly chop up all the veg, leaving aside a handful each of pepper, cucumber and red onion for the garnish. Blend in batches with the spices, oil and vinegar and combine in a large bowl with the water to loosen. Season with plenty of black pepper and some sea salt. You can leave the soup chunky, or sieve it for a smoother finish. Refrigerate for as long as you have, ideally overnight. When you're ready to serve, finely chop the remaining veg including the avocado. Ladle into chilled bowls, garnish with the chilled veg, a slick of olive oil and an ice cube.