Sunday, 7 June 2015

How to make Andalusian Gazpacho?

In fact, 'Andalusian Gazpacho' is a pleonasm. For the origins of this soup of raw vegetables are, yes, Andalusian.  

The most widespread theory is that it was a soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in southern Spain with the Moors

Today, if you're anything like the average northern European arriving in Andalucia, it's that cold soup you first dislike - before you start to love it, can't live without and prepare it for a whole month. 

As health drink, soup or dish: you make it according to your taste. 

The most modern way to make gazpacho:

There are many modern variations of gazpacho, including adding grapes, watermelon or seafood. Let's stick to the most traditional taste though. 

What do you need?

Stale bread, olive oil and vegetables. To be precise: a blender + stale bread + vegetables as tomato, cucumber, onion, bell pepper + garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water and salt. 

How to make it

1. Wash the vegetables and peel the tomatoes, garlic and onions. 
2. Chop all herbs and pound everything in a mortar (traditional method) or purée them in a blender. 
3. Add soaked, stale bread (optional)
4. Blend until liquid until you have the desired consistency. Some like it to look as a purée, others as a drink. 
5. Ad water, olive oil, salt and vinegar. This is your experimental phase, where you keep adding and stirring until it's up to your taste. 

(If you prefer not to purée but to leave some texture, then only start blending now). 

6. You can garnish the soup with diced tomatoes or tiny slices of cucumber or other fresh ingredients. 

Fun facts about gazpacho

  • The word 'gazpacho' is of Arabic origin and means soaked bread
  • The 2 main ingredients, tomatoes and peppers, were only added after the discovery of the New World. 
  • Gazpacho is so popular it even has its own National Gazpacho Day: December 6th.  
But what with the heat, any summer day is Gazpacho Day. 


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

3 surprising and Super Easy tapas

Once again a Spanish restaurant is named Best Restaurant in the World (El Celler de San Roca in Girona). 

With another 6 restaurants in the Top 50, there can't be much debate about it: Spain is a culinary paradise. 

Let's hope that our visitors this summer (for obviously: nothing makes a person so popular as living in Andalucia) do not have too high expectations! 

If you discover they do, here are 3 tapas that are both surprising as well as incredibly easy. 

3. Melon cubes with jamon serrano

The title says it all. No further ingredients needed. 

2. Chicory boats with herb cheese

This one doesn't take more than 2 minutes: 

Grease leaflets of chicory with herb cheese. Done. 

That in itself is delicious. 

Even if chicory can be found in any larger supermarket, people often do not know what to do with it and when they see it on the table they're surprised. 

For an extra touch, you can add chestnuts or berries

1. Goat cheese and honey

An underground classic. Loved by all. Even for breakfast. 

All you need is: 

French bread
Goat cheese

Slice the bread. Slice the goat cheese. Put the slices of cheese on the slices of bread - and then in the oven until the cheese melts and the bread is crispy.  

A top of honey on the cheese and done, it's ready to be served. 

For an extra touch, ad almonds. 

A tapa dinner conversation

"Did you know that the word tapa comes from the verb tapar, which means: to cover"? 

(Gasps for air): "No, I didn't". 

"Yes. To avoid leaves falling in the drink, they put a small plate on it. Which could be used as well for a small bite to whet the appetite". 

"You are so cultured! You are such a good host"!

Admittedly, I dreamt up this conversation. It is the origin of the Spanish tapa though, which used to exist of olives, cheese and ham only - and over time has been influenced by trends and foreign habits. 

Use frozen strawberries or pineapple cubes as ice cubes?

Today anything goes. 

Grill peach? 

Grill salad on a stick? (A skewer of tomato, pepper, onion…). 

If you've got something in the house, you can create a tapa with it. Try it today - or every day - when you're rummaging for a bite at 4 PM. 

Good luck and enjoy - and do not hesitate to post your suggestions or recipe here.