The last thing anyone wants to do right now is cook.
I’m living on slices of melon, olives, crisps and a serious amount of gin and tonic. Other no-cook options include salads, ceviche (fish ‘cooked’ by lime), and bright raw vegetables. But your best friend in the kitchen during a heatwave is your blender.
The blender will conjure up dips, fruit drinks and chilled soups – no need to approach the stove. A cold vegetable soup might not sound appetising but Spanish flavours are just what you need in this heat. I can glug gazpacho by the jug during hot weather. Plus it’s an effortless way of achieving your five-a-day.
From Madrid comes Salmorejo, very similar to gazpacho, but using bread. It’s a light pink colour and served in a bowl, whereas the darker-hued gazpacho tends to be served in a glass.
In my recipe I added a few drops of ‘liquid smoke’ for a hint of BBQ. Ideally you’d use cold smoked tomatoes, which, using gadgets like Heston’s gun smoker, aren’t difficult to make.
Finally, you can also do as the Greeks do: cook in the evening and save it for the next day’s lunch. This recipe for Mexican black bean soup, which works just as well in summer as in winter, rather like a cup of tea cools you down when it’s hot. Make it the night before and heat it up the next day.
Salmorejo Soup recipe
8 large very ripe tomatoes, chopped roughly
3/4 slices of stale baguette
2 cloves garlic
1tsp sweet smoked paprika
750ml approximately of freshly boiled water
200ml extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp Sherry vinegar
1tbsp sea salt
A few drops of liquid smoke (optional)
Fresh basil leaves
Put the tomatoes, bread, garlic and paprika into a large heat proof bowl. Cover with hot water and leave to soak.
Place into a blender along with the other ingredients and blend.
Leave to chill in the fridge and serve cold with fresh basil and a glass of fino sherry.
Crudités with Green Goddess dip
Green Goddess dip
Mexican Black Bean Soup recipe
250g black turtle beans
1 poblano pepper
2 -3 avocado leaves
1tbsp sea salt
2 brown onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
250g tomatoes, chopped
3 tbsp coarse cornmeal
2L vegetable stock
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
A small handful of fresh coriander leaves
Juice of 1 lime,
Soak the beans overnight. Cover with water, adding the poblano, avocado leaves and epazote, and cook on a low heat for an hour or two until the beans are soft but not crumbling.
After the first hour, add salt.
Meanwhile in a deep frying pan, soften the onions in the olive oil until pale gold.
Add the garlic, tomatoes and simmer for ten minutes.
Scoop out half the bean mixture and whizz up in a blender and return to the stockpot.
Transfer the fried onions and tomatoes to the stock pot with the beans.
Add the cornmeal and the vegetable stock. Cook for half an hour or more.
Serve topped with the garnish.
Accompany with corn tortillas.