• Glorious gazpacho

    Summer is most definitely here and the last two days have been positively scorching. After the relief of the rain last week it's a shame that the ground is drying out again and everything in the garden is beginning to look a bit parched. But every cloud (or lack of) has a silver lining and today's blistering sun made me yearn for a deliciously chilling Gazpacho.

    Thankfully, given the busyness of my day, it must be one of the quickest dishes to deliver and even better needs no heat in its creation. You really can vary this recipe as much as you like; a mix of green and red peppers boosts the savory notes and some versions don't use any bread at all. I like to add a splash of tobasco but that is very much optional, as is the basil oil garnish.

    Glorious Gazpacho

    for 2

    500g big ripe tomatoes

    1 red pepper

    1 spring onion

    1/4 cucumber

    50g stale white bread or breadcrumbs

    1 tbsp sherry vinegar

    1 tsp sugar

    Handful of basil leaves

    Splash tobasco (optional)

    Salt and pepper

    Basil oil to garnish

    Prepare the veg by coring and chopping the tomatoes, deseeding and chopping the pepper, topping, tailing and slicing the spring onion, and peeling and chopping the cucumber. All this can be done very roughly. I like to do the tomatoes first and scrape the cores and seeds into a sieve which sits over my bowl while I work on the other vegetables. The juices drip through adding lovely tomato flavour to your soup. In fact I usually help them along a bit by giving them a press with the back of a wooden spoon.

    Once all of the vegetables are prepared, simply put them in the jug of a blender along with all the other ingredients. Give it all a really good blitz, add about 100ml of cold water and taste. Adjust the flavour with more water, vinegar, tobasco and seasoning as necessary then put it in the fridge to chill until you need it. If you want to dive in immediately, like I usually do, pop in a few ice cubes and it will be fine to enjoy straight away. I do usually use water from the fridge to let it down which helps improve the chill factor, or you could substitute ice cubes if your blender will cope.

    I like to finish this with a swirl of basil oil and fresh sprig of basil.

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