Oh yes~! Summer’s here and not willing to take prisoners. Getting anything down at 35°C during lunchtime is starting to be just as unappealing as skipping lunch altogether. There’s one thing though, that always works in situations like these. Quickly made, easily carried around and, in most cases, very healthy and satisfying: Cold soups.
As you might know, I’ve been experimenting around with these more frequently for the last couple of years, always trying to skip the heavy, the oily and the carby things without ending up with a glass of vegetable juice. While being on a mission like this could generally be considered a good thing, I sometimes lean towards the extreme, loosing track of everything else and overlooking things that might be staring me right in the face. One of those things staring at me succeeded at grabbing my full attention when my tummy started to demand carrots for no apparent reason. Carrots in all honors, but “Wow I want a carrot, and pronto”? That was a new one… But then it hit me. There I was, mulling over Gazpacho-related lunch ideas for the hot days of the year, and one of the few yummies I had been making on a regular basis for ages had totally slipped my mind. I blame the heat outside, doing its best to low-and-slow my grey matter~! Anyways, a bowl of this one does an excellent job at fighting said heat any time of the day~
The Carrot & Cape Gooseberry Gazpacho
450g Carrots, peeled, topped, tailed and finely grated
150g Cape Gooseberries, lanterns removed and halved – set a couple of them aside for decorative measures
75g salted Cashew Nuts, toasted golden brown
1 Salad Cucumber, topped, tailed, peeled and roughly chopped
3 leafy Sprigs of Flatleaf Parsley, leaves picked
3 Leafy Sprigs of Mint, leaves picked
1 unwaxed Lemon, Zest and Juice
50g Ginger, freshly grated
1 large Clove of Garlic, coarsely chopped
1 Orange, Juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 heaped Tsp Turmeric
1 heaped Tsp Cumin
1 heaped Tsp ground Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp Chilli Flakes
2-3 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
4-5 Tbsp of Goats- or Sheepsmilk Yoghurt
Freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste
Opt: more orange- or lemon juice or vegetable stock – in case the gazpacho ends up on the thick side of things, leaning towards a purée
Just a word in advance: it’s best to get this one started the evening before you plan on finishing it off, but just in case you happen to feel a sudden flash of “I want this now!”, going through the “Evening Before” motions a couple of hours prior to munch-time will do as well.
1) Finely grate the carrots into an airtight container.
2) Add the lemon zest and juice, the spices and chillies, 1 tsp of salt, the brown sugar, a generous crack of pepper and the olive oil.
3) Give the lot a good stir to distribute the spices throughout the mix, then seal the container and pop it into the fridge for a sleepover.
The Main Event
1) Add the yoghurt and the herbs to a small mixing bowl along with a pinch of salt and a good crack of pepper. Set the bowl aside, preferably into the fridge, until you’re ready to serve.
2) Place the cucumber, ginger, garlic, cashews and gooseberries in a blender and drizzle them with the orange juice.
3) Have the well-rested spiced carrots join the lot.
4) Whizz the veggies into a creamy, smooth soup. When you’re looking at the consistency, keep the yoghurt, soon to be yoghurt swirls, in mind before taking drastic measures.
If it’s too thick to qualify itself as „soup“, add more lemon- or orange juice – or vegetable stock – and blitz it again – until you’re satisfied with the consistency. A „too thin“ state can be remedied with more nuts.
5) Have a taste and adjust your seasoning, especially if you added more liquids, with the same spices you’ve already used – make sure to add all of them in equal amounts to maintain the overall balance of the dish.
6) Pop it back into the fridge until it’s thoroughly chilled through again and you are ready to serve.
7) Pour the soup into chilled bowls, quickly dot the servings with the herby yoghurt and serve it immediately.