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Quick Gazpacho

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Ingredients

300 ml/ pint tomato juice or vegetable juice
slice of white bread, roughly torn
600 ml/1 pint cold water
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
1 thick slice of mild Spanish onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
A pinch of chilli powder or a dash of Tabasco sauce
A pinch of celery salt
4 ice cubes

To garnish

1 thick slice of onion, finely chopped
cucumber, diced small
2 ripe tomatoes, diced small
green pepper, deseeded and diced small
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped (optional)
2 slices of bread, diced and fried in olive oil until crisp

Details

Serves: 5


Method

In a liquidizer or food processor, blend all the soup ingredients, including the ice, until quite smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning - cold food needs to be highly seasoned.


Serve in bowls you have rinsed round with ice to cool them. Put the garnishes in separate small bowls, so each person can choose what to sprinkle on his or her soup. Fry the croutons at the last minute: they should be so hot they sizzle when they hit the soup.


Complete the meal lightly with a classic Spanish tortilla, or more substantially with a chicken roasted with lots of garlic and olive oil. Finish with some fresh juicy fruit - strawberries, peaches, grapes, melon. Gazpacho is the national dish of Andalusia, where the natives rarely serve anything but fruit after a meal.


You could make double quantities of the gazpacho and keep half in the refrigerator to be diluted with more iced water and served (without its garnishes) as a refreshing summer drink. Omit the onion if you're going to keep it for more than a couple of days, as onion ferments easily.

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