So yesterday I went in for a check up to see my Breast Doctor and we talked a little about my health, mindset, ya know, where I am in terms of healing, faith and wellbeing. I must say I am checking out great especially with my new fabulous tan I got this summer whilst helping to prevent early-onset Osteoparosis (Vitamin D). Well, so I was told to do.
My big thing in August was eating a lot of tomatoes, avocados, peppers, garlic, cucumbers, olives, onions, and loads of fresh, fresh herbs all influenced by my surroundings outside Barcelona, Spain. We have been spending our summers there for years and I have always wanted acceptance from the locals. I have figured the best way of communication is not necessarily to learn one’s language but the art of their food. If you can figure a way to everyone’s tummy, you are as good as gold!
We hired a local girl to babysit a few afternoons and thought I’d try my luck at wooing her into my little culinary hula-hoop of Americana know-how – so, I baked her my banana bread. (Well, it was the Joy Of Cooking‘s recipe with tweaks – it’s delish). A corny choice but it did what it needed to do – it blew her socks off!
Anyway, she was so blown away she says had never tasted anything like it before. Really? I thought. So, I made her another to take to her family. Now, there is an obvious alterior motive here – I was not giving away something for nothing. I sought the ultimate dish in Spanish culture – Gazpacho. I asked her if she knew of one, and she said ‘No, but my mother does.’ Oh Lord, if I hit the mother goose, I won’t know what to do with myself!
Sure there are all sorts of reinterpreted versions floating around the internet on cooking websites, but can you find a traditional one from a Spaniard, especially a recipe passed on from mother to mother to mother? Not really.
‘Anna the babysitter’, we called her, came with her own mother’s handwritten notes of the perfect Gazpacho. It was written in Catalan, the language of the Catalunya region in northern Spain. I was so touched, honoured and very grateful I had this fine recipe for this nutritious treasure! And now, I would like to share it with you.
Gazpacho, The Perfect Cold Meal
Served very chilled and either chunky or smooth! Either way, it’s the best way to get 5 Veg + 1 Herbs a day in!
1 to 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 whole White or Yellow Onion (sweeter) diced + 1 Tbsp diced for garnishes
1 Red (sweet) or Green (bitter) Pepper, diced + 1 Tbsp diced for garnishes
Bundle of Basil, chopped
1/2 Cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced + 1 Tbsp diced for garnishes
7 to 8 Plum or 5 Beef Tomatoes, deseeded and diced + 1 Tbsp diced for garnishes
1/2 Stale Baguette or 5 Slices of Stale White Bread, roughly chopped + 1 Tbsp diced for garnishes
1 Tbsp Módena or Jerez Vinegar, or white wine vinegar
2 Tbsps of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp of Fresh Water
Pinch of Salt (to taste)
Pinch of Pepper (to taste)
Equipment absolutely necessary: 1 Medium to small netted Sieve and a standing or hand blender.
Add all vegetables, herbs and bread to blender to ‘Soup’ or finely blend. Pour though Sieve, slowly pushing soup through to get out any lumps. Set in refrigerator for at least two hours to set and become cool.
Place all garnishes: diced peppers, cucumbers, onions, and bread on to plate. Pour soup into bowl and serve chilled.
(Photograph from files of BBC Food website, we didn’t have one, so we had to borrow it!)