Gazpacho

Gazpacho - a summer favourite! 

Gazpacho - a summer favourite! 

During the hot summer months I love nothing more than a delicious gazpacho - cool and filling! I picked up the recipe years ago when I spent a summer in Madrid, young and carefree! I keep coming back to it every time the temperature starts to rise and we can eat al fresco and enjoy the beautiful garden sights and smells. 

About 2 pounds of ripe red tomatoes, roughly chopped into chunks

1 green pepper, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks

1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and roughly cut into chunks

1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste

Salt

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling

  1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
  2. With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
  3. Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.

Three Bean Chilli

Super simple and tasty three bean chilli

Super simple and tasty three bean chilli

I love how it is so easy to make a batch of this three bean chilli and parcel it up for the week. Make lots and you'll find it is ideal for freezing, taking the stress out of dinner times! 

1 tblsp veg oil

1 large carrot, chopped into small dice

1 large stick celery, chopped into small dice

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli (if using) finely chopped or 1/2-1tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tblsp tomato puree

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick, or piece of cassia bark

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp soy sauce

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

1 pepper, small dice

100g each dried kidney beans, aduki beans and black eye beans, or a 400g can of each, drained

Handful of chopped coriander leaves and chopped scallions. 

  1. If using dried beans, soak and cook as recommended on the packaging prior to starting the chilli
  2. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and fresh chilli if using to the oil in a large wide pan on a medium hot heat and sweat until onions are translucent, about 10 mins
  3. Add tomato puree and stir for 30 seconds, then add the cumin, coriander, bay and cinnamon, smoked paprika and dried chilli if using. Stir fry for a minute.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, chopped pepper and soy sauce, bring to simmer, cover and leave on low heat for 10-20mins, stirring occasionally, until veg is cooked through. Adding pepper at this step leaves a bit of crunch. If you like it more cooked add with other veg at step one.
  5. Add all the beans, stir, bring to simmer, cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until beans are hot. Keep an eye on it, add a couple of tblsp of water if it is a bit dry.
  6. Add chopped coriander leaves, chopped scallions and serve with a dollop of sour cream or some chopped avocado. Delicious!

Beetroot Burgers

Tasty vegetarian beetroot burgers!

Tasty vegetarian beetroot burgers!

There are fancier recipes out there for beetroot burgers, but I always like to try and keep things simple. I didn't weigh or measure as I was scrambling for time, so these are really just ‘guestimates’- sorry! But you are looking for a consistency where the burger will stick together, not too wet, not too dry. So here’s my version which made enough mini burgers to feed seven big ones and five little ones:

 

5 decent sized raw beetroots grated

2 large onions, finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

250g of ground almonds

A LARGE handful of coriander/cilantro ( because I adore it!), roughly chopped

Two large tablespoons of jumbo oats

Two free range eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper

Grate the raw beetroot into a large mixing bowl. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently until they bind. Make into burger patties and leave in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes or so before cooking them. You can grill them, BBQ them or shallow fry them- whatever takes your fancy. Serve with some feta cheese crumbled on top, or crème fraîche, with salad or some roasted sweet potato fries.