The mercury is peaking right across the country and with this sweltering heat comes the need for light, refreshing meals.
What is so exceptional about Australia during the warmer months is the abundance of fresh produce we are spoilt with to create mouth-watering dishes inspired by the flavours of the world. This week I aim to seduce you with a Spanish dish using home-grown ingredients.
Like Australia, Spain is known for long hot summers. Gazpacho is a famous chilled vegetable soup from the Andalusia region of Southern Spain and is typically made from crimson sweet summer tomatoes. It is deliciously refreshing and makes a great starter for a dinner party as you watch the sun dip over the horizon and the cooler evening breeze blows in.
This unusual green version of gazpacho is zingy and zesty and is inspired by the stunning pages of Greg and Lucy Malouf's Moorish cookbook. The vibrant green soup popped out from the pages and I just had to make my own version for our Australian summer.
If you are after some further reprieve from the heat, my quick and healthy white nectarine, lime and rose frappe recipes is on my website.
3 thick slices of ciabatta loaf, crusts cut off and roughly torn
3 large green tomatoes (unripe tomatoes), roughly chopped
2 green capsicums, seeded and roughly chopped
4 long green chillies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup coriander leaves
1 cup parsley leaves
3 spring onion stalks, roughly chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 leaves of soft lettuce, like butter lettuce
400ml chilled water
100ml extra virgin olive oil
To serve, watercress, coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.
Soak the bread in a little chilled water for 1 min then place into the food processor with the green tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and garlic. Blitz until combined.
Add the lemon juice, coriander leaves, parsley leaves, spring onions, white wine vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper and blitz into a fine puree. Add the butter lettuce and blitz again.
With the food processor motor running, add the chilled water and olive oil in a thin stream and continue to blitz until it is thick, creamy and smooth.
Pass the soup though a fine sieve (using a rubber spatula) and place in the fridge to chill until required.
To serve, pour the soup into bowls and top with a garnish of watercress, coriander and pomegranate seeds.
Handy Hint: The soup can be frozen for up to a month. Just defrost, blitz in the food processor and serve.