Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Every year I toy with what to get my Dad for his birthday. Except for another Hawaiian shirt, I always struggle to come up with something that won't just sit on his desk or table untouched.

My Dad loves his food as much as I do, if not more. In fact it's my Dad who really taught me how to cook. Cooking him dinner always seems like the best present I could give him.

I probably spent longer planning a menu for the evening than I would have spent shopping for a gift. It had to be something light and summery because of the time of year. All of the courses also had to be able to stretch to an unknown number of guests, we pretty much have an open door policy to friends coming over for dinner. Pork is a no-no for one of our closest family friends and my Dad has an aversion to chicken most of the time.

I toyed with the idea of different salads for a starter. Nothing really stood out though as we always have all kinds of delicious salads. I needed to think of something we wouldn't usually have.

Gazpacho seemed perfect. All the delicious componants of a salad, but different.

There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding what is an authentic gazpacho. Does it contain bread? herbs? chilli? garlic? peppers? Should it be smooth or chunky? Keep or bin the tomato seeds? After a few hours of reading hundreds of recipes I thought my head was going to explode. I decided just to use what I had in the fridge, keep it basic, and hope for the best. It turned out pretty delicious if I say so myself.

Ingredients (for 8ish servings).

1.5kg ripe tasty tomatoes
Half a loaf of stale crusty bread
3-4 cloves of garlic
Slosh of red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish:
Red onion
Yellow bell pepper

How to...

1. Soak the stale bread in a basin of water for half an hour.
2. Use a sharp knife to score a cross in the base of each tomato, then immerse the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or so until the skins become loose. Plunge into cold water and remove the skins which should come off easily.
3. Roughly chop tomatoes and garlic.
4. Blend tomatoes, garlic and the soaked bread (with some of the water squeezed out). If you only have a small blender you may have to do this in a few batches.
5. Season with salt and pepper and add a generous slosh of red wine vinegar. Taste to see if the seasoning is right and the vinegar has given enough tartness.
6. Chill for 4+ hours.
7. Finely chop all the ingredients for the garnish and mix them up.
8. Serve in chilled bowls or cups with a generous spoonful of the garnish on top and a glug of olive oil.

Today whilst cooking I was listening to... Hot in Here by Athlete

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