Monday, 11 July 2011


This has to be the best cold soup ever. My sister makes the best one I have ever tasted that uses beef stock that you marry with the olive oil to emulsfy, which takes some time. This version is nearly as good but a lot quicker and on a hot day like to day speed is of the essence.

  Serves 6

 1½ lb (700 g) firm red ripe tomatoes
 4 inch (10 cm) piece of cucumber, peeled and chopped
 2 or 3 spring onions, peeled and chopped
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 ½ large red or green pepper, deseeded and chopped
 1 heaped teaspoon fresh chopped basil, marjoram or thyme (depending on what's available)
 4 tablespoons olive oil
 1½ tablespoons wine vinegar
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the garnish:
 ½ large red or green pepper, deseeded and very finely chopped
 4 inch (10 cm) piece of cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
 2 spring onions, finely chopped
 1 hard boiled egg, finely chopped
 1 heaped tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
To serve:
 small croutons
 4 ice cubes


Begin by placing the tomatoes in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them; after a minute or two the skins will loosen and slip off very easily. Halve the tomatoes, scoop out and discard the seeds and roughly chop the flesh.
Now place the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, crushed garlic and chopped pepper in a liquidiser, adding a seasoning of salt and pepper, the herbs, oil and wine vinegar.Then pulse everything ubtil they are small chunky pieces, if you like your soup smoothh then blitz until a pulp. (If your liquidiser is very small combine all the ingredients first, then blend in two or three batches.) Taste to check the seasoning and pour the soup into a bowl. Stir in a little cold water to thin it slightly – anything from 5-10 fl oz (150-275 ml) – then cover the bowl with foil and chill thoroughly.
To make the garnish, simply combine all the ingredients together with a seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper, and hand them round at the table together with small croutons of bread fried till crisp in olive oil, well drained and cooled. 

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