明けましておめでとうございます 2017

Happy New Year 2017. This year, for the first time in 9 years, I was back in the UK for Xmas and New Year, and much of that was on the road, so this post is a little late.

New Year was a more UK style ‘drinks at midnight’ affair with the family, and though I was planning a hatsuhinode morning sunrise viewing, heavy cloud and rain put an end to that unfortunately.

We’re now back in Japan, so there are some New Year traditions to sort out this weekend, then it’s figuring out snowboarding trips and potentially, a change of motorbike.

All the best to everyone for 2017.

Recipe: Gazpacho Soup

As it’s probably been noted – it gets pretty hot in most of Japan in the summer, so what could be better than a nice bowl of chilled soup? Over the years I’ve come to quite like gazpacho soup, made famous to my generation in the UK from the comedy ‘Red Dwarf’, where the character Rimmer ruins his career by asking the chef to ‘heat it up’ whilst at the captain’s table. The soup itself is Spanish in origin, so you can expect a lot of juicy ripe fruit in there.

Anyway, I’ve digressed already, this soup is prepared chilled from fresh ingredients, and should be chilled in a fridge before serving – it tastes very good after being chilled overnight. To make it, you really just need that fridge, some ingredients, and a blender. One thing I like about Gazpacho soup is that it’s difficult to say it’s wrong since there are so many permutations of it based on local recipes (a bit like Miso Shiru!).

Gazpacho Vegetables
Gazpacho Vegetables

For mine I get the following ingredients and roughly chop them into a bowl – this should make 6+ servings:

  • 500g chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 300g of bell peppers
  • 200g of cucumber
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g of celery
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 100g of red onion
  • 30g parsley
  • pinch of oregano

That goes into (and essentially fills) my blender! Give it a whirl around a bit until it’s broken down a bit, then add:

  • 100g virgin olive oil

after a bit more time you can add some of the following to taste:

  • salt
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • pepper sauce
Blended Gazpacho
Blended Gazpacho

You can really blend it as far as you like – I’ve tried leaving some more chunks in there, and I’ve tried taking it all the way down to a thick liquid, and it tastes good most ways, so you can’t really over blend it. You can also add some ingredients at the end just diced if you prefer.

Variations

There’s lots of ways you can do Gazpacho, adding a few things – I quite like adding a few olives, or sometimes a piman (a smaller Japanese non-spicy pepper) from my mini-garden. I’ve done some with several drops of Tabasco and it’s actually ended up really quite good for accompanying a BBQ, with that added spice and a drink. If you want it less spicy, you could add some cold boiled potato which would also thicken it up.

Also, if you don’t think you’ve got enough liquid in there after a minute or so of blending, you can add some tomato puree or juice.

Please post good variations in the comments!