Tuesday, August 28, 2012


  • Get tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, onion and red pepper.
  • Also, get olive oil.
  • Peel your cucumber and put everything in a blender. Sixty percent tomato, fifteen percent cucumber, ten percent red pepper, five percent onion and the rest, garlic and your own adjustments, herbs and sugar. I only used some dried herbs. Please use fresh. Basil. Oregano. Marjoram. I don't know if this is authentic. But taste it. You will know.
  • You may need a little water to get it moving in the blender, but be sparse; there's a lot of water in these veggies.
  • Add a few tablespoons of olive oil or more, and a teaspoon or two of sherry vinegar.
  • Why does it still not taste great? Because you have not added salt. Do I really need to tell you this?
  • Add pepper too. (This really doesn't warrant a bullet point of its own.)
  • Serve now, or better, leave it in the fridge overnight, then adjust seasoning.
  • I wasn't getting moody earlier, I just have every faith in you.
  • Eat with grilled, olive-oiled bread.

What did it taste like? GARLIC. Go easy on the stuff. It's potent when it's raw. Apart from that, it was refreshing and juicy.

Tip: Smell your tomatoes. This is not a euphemism. Smell your tomatoes in the place of purchase (if people look at you funny, smile and wink - this is sure to freak them out). You will know if it's a good tomato if it smells of something. Also, use good olive oil and put more on top to serve.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Courgette and corn chowder + bacon and cheddar

  • Go to England and buy some proper cheddar.
  • Fry some smoked bacon til crispy. Make a bacon sandwich to keep you going. Save some of the bacon for your soup.
  • Fry spring onions and/or normal onion in the bacon fat, adding pepper, a bay leaf and some thyme. Save some of the green of the onion for the topping.
  • Decide if you want to chop or slice your courgette. Stick to your guns. Then add it to the pan.
  • Blend some milk and some sweetcorn in a food processor with salt, pepper and tabasco.
  • When your courgette is tasty (I waited til there was a little browning on some bits), add the milky concoction. Simmer gently for five or ten. Add more milk or cream if you wish.
  • Before serving, add some more corn, heat through then serve with the bacon, spring onion, and grated cheddar.

What did it taste like? Good. Savoury rice pudding. No really, it was delicious. But I guess in quick succession to the bacon sandwich, I shouldn't have expected it to compare. Nothing much in this world does. (Check back next year for 'A Bacon Sandwich A Week'.)

Tip: This is apparently the season for sweetcorn. But despite the abundance of shops and markets around here, I was unable to find fresh sweetcorn or even frozen. I was crushingly disappointed at having to resort to tinned, which despite being contrary to the very inspiration for this post, revealed this is a tasty dish you can make easily any time of year. I will endeavour to try it with the fresh stuff and see if I can taste the difference.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Persian yoghurt soup

  • Whisk Greek yoghurt and cold water in a bowl - about four parts yoghurt to two/three parts water. Season with salt and pepper. Your grandmother will thank you for it.
  • Add skinned/seeded/diced cucumber and mint.
  • Then mix in your choice of roasted pistachios, roasted walnuts, pine nuts, dill, corianderchives, parsley, sultanas, tomato, pomegranate, spring onion, apricot, dried fruit. (My selection is in bold.)
  • Chill.
  • Sprinkle with sumac before serving with whatever grilled bread you can get your hands on. I used naan.
What did it taste like? It's rather refreshing and delicious. The separate flavours all tasted good, but I don't know if a) they all came together successfully into one well-balanced soup, or if b) the combination was too sophisticated for my barbaric pallate. There are all kinds of regional variations on this soup which in fact range from dip to drink, the most well known perhaps being tzatziki and lassi at the respective ends of the scale. With my leftovers, I plan to add some spring onion and serve it as a kind of salad with some grilled lamb chops, as I feel this may be the alternate destiny to this delightfully fresh dish. I will let you know how it goes.

Tips: If you have crossed the city to procure sumac, don't forget to sprinkle it on the top before serving, especially if you are taking photos of it for your blog.

Update: Indeed it was amazing with lamb chops. I added a bit of spring onion and the combination was a treat.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ajo blanco (White garlic soup)

  • This chilled summer soup practically makes itself, you just have to supervise.
  • Put twice as much blanched almond to day-old bread in a food processor.
  • Add a finely chopped garlic clove (I don't trust my food processor to do this correctly but if you trust yours, be my guest).
  • Pour in some satifying glugs of olive oil, and a splash of sherry vinegar.
  • Season with salt, and start whizzing. Add water until you have the desired consistency. Chill.
  • Wait until hungry.
  • Serve with slices of white grape.

What did it taste like: Hummous. Kind of. It's a different and delicious soup and perfect with the addition of grapes.

Tip: The consistency should not be too thick, otherwise it's like eating dip, and ensure that it is well chilled. Although I love garlic, I am a bit scared of it raw. I always use less than other recipes. I was happy with the strength in this soup, it was obviously one of the main ingredients, but it didn't stay with me for the rest of the day.