Food and Drink: Chill out with a cool soup: The traditional winter warmer can be just as satisfying if delivered cold on a summer's day - and there's no need even to switch on the stove

I'VE JUST heard the weather report and it bodes well, with promises of fine weather in the near future. Now I don't feel quite so ridiculous writing an article about chilled soups while swaddled in a winter jumper.

I've had rather a good time of it recently, weather- and soup-wise. A couple of days in Lisbon served to remind me how very welcome the classic Iberian chilled soup, gazpacho, can be when the sun beats down. Though usually associated with Spain, gazpacho is also a great favourite in southern Portugal.

I've also just returned from a spell as guest cook at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. Hard work, but fun, and with the not inconsiderable perk of board and lodging at Ballymaloe House Hotel. Every evening there are at least two soups on the menu, if not three, and I have rarely tasted

better.

Gathering a collection of chilled soups, I realised that the ones I would be likely to make were those that require virtually no cooking. This rules out Vichysoisse (such an elegant name for potato and leek soup) and other equally delicious soups that are simmered before liquidising and chilling. On a sunny day I'd rather limit my kitchen activities to the minimum - chopping, liquidising, stirring, tasting and finito.

If you are inclined towards a hot stove, then you'll find many soups normally served steaming hot are just as good cold. On the whole, I think it is better to substitute oil for butter.

Simmered or not, one indisputable fact is that chilling mutes flavour. Choose your ingredients well: take the best and the freshest - fully-ripened tomatoes or avocados, home-

made stock, creamy yoghurt, and so on. Before chilling, balance out the flavourings to give a rounded taste (a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of wine vinegar can often work wonders to heighten flavour), and make sure that the seasoning is sprightly, though not overwhelming. Try the soup just before serving and make last minute adjustments.

The process of chilling will also thicken up the consistency. Some soups are meant to be lightly jellied. Otherwise, dilute as much as you will, taking care not to thin the flavour.

Cooked chilled soups can be made at least 24 hours in advance and usually freeze very well, but 'raw' soups are best eaten on the day they are made, especially if they contain onion which has a tendency to ferment. If needs must, omit the onion.

Gazpacho Andaluz

The classic 'liquidised salad', open to endless variation. In some recipes, water is replaced with tomato juice to intensify the flavour and colour. Prepare as many garnishes as you have time for, and pass them around so each diner can embellish their own bowl.

Serves 6

Ingredients: 1 1/2 lbs (675g) ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded, chopped

3/4 cucumber, peeled and roughly

chopped

1 large green pepper, deseeded and

roughly chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 1/2 -2 tbs red wine vinegar

4 tbs olive oil

4oz (110g) fresh white breadcrumbs

1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

salt and pepper

Garnish: diced, deseeded tomato

diced cucumber, red onion, green

pepper

diced cured ham such as jamon serrano (from Spain), presunto (from Portugal), prosciutto (from Italy)

diced egg

Preparation: Put all the ingredients in a liquidiser with a generous cupful of iced water. If you use a processor, a small slurp of water will be enough. Liquidise to a fairly smooth sludge (you may have to do this in two batches). Gradually stir in enough water to give a soupy consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt and/ or vinegar to highlight the flavours. A pinch of sugar may help.

Chill, and adjust seasoning again just before serving. Pass garnishes around once the soup is served.

Ajo blanco con uvas

This 'white gazpacho' comes from the Malaga area. It's the most bizarre sounding concoction - garlic and grapes - but it works . . . as long as you're partial to garlic. Pale and cool at first glance, it packs a punch, so serve in small quantities. Don't be tempted to omit the grapes as their sweet juiciness is quite essential. One variation replaces them with raisins plumped up in Malaga wine, but fresh grapes are far nicer.

Unblanched almonds are not only cheaper than blanched ones, but usually have a better flavour. To skin, cover with boiling water, leave for a minute or two, drain, and run under the cold tap.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients: 1-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2oz (55g) blanched whole almonds, roughly chopped

2oz (55g) fresh white breadcrumbs

1-2tbs red wine or sherry vinegar

2tbs olive oil

1 pint water

8oz seedless white grapes (muscatel if you can get them), peeled and halved

salt

Preparation: Place garlic (be warned - one clove alone is enough to give a noticeable kick), almonds and breadcrumbs in the processor with the vinegar, olive oil and a little salt. Process, adding a few tablespoons of water, until you have a paste. Keep the motor running and trickle in the rest of the water. Transfer to a soup tureen and stir in the grapes. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Stir, then taste and adjust seasoning, adding a touch more vinegar if necessary.

Tzatziki soupa

The liquid version of the Greek yoghurt and cucumber dip, tzatziki.

Serves 6

Ingredients: 1 cucumber

1 pint (600ml) Greek yoghurt

1-2 cloves garlic

finely grated zest 1 lemon

3tbs chopped fresh mint

lemon juice

salt and pepper

Preparation: Grate the cucumber coarsely, peel and all. Beat the yoghurt with 5fl oz (150 ml) water. Stir in the cucumber, garlic, lemon zest, chopped mint and salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Chill for at least an hour, stir, then taste and adjust seasonings. If it seems too thick add a little water.

Ballymaloe avocado soup

This is a good soup for using up avocados that are a little overripe. As soon as you have made it, cover with clingfilm and chill. The soup is rich and very thick, so a little goes a long way.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients: 12oz tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped

1/2 small onion

1 very ripe large avocado

2tsp lemon juice

8fl oz (225 ml) chicken stock

4fl oz (110 ml) good French dressing

salt and pepper

To serve: 1 tomato or half red pepper

Preparation: Liquidise tomatoes, seeds and and all, then sieve. Measure out 4fl oz. Grate the onion on a very fine grater and scrape up enough pulp to measure half a teaspoon. Peel the avocado and discard the stone. Place tomato juice, onion and avocado in a liquidiser or processor with all the remaining ingredients and whizz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide into small bowls and chill.

To serve, decorate each bowl with fine shreds of red pepper, or deseeded tomatoes cut into shapes.

Canteloupe soup

This is an old favourite that I'd quite forgotten until a few weeks ago, when I revived it for a demonstration. It proved a huge hit. Though there's no reason why you shouldn't serve a fruit soup at the beginning of a meal, I think this one slots in better as pudding, accompanied by a few almond biscuits.

Don't be tempted to substitute green-fleshed melons for the cantaloupe or charantais. You really do need orange-fleshed fruit for this one.

Serves 4 generously

Ingredients: 2 oranges

2 limes

4oz (110g) sugar

2 small-medium canteloupe or

charantais melons

4fl oz single cream

scant 1oz (25g) toasted hazlenuts,

chopped

Preparation: Pare the zest from one orange and one lime and shred finely. Blanch in boiling water for one minute, drain, run under the cold tap, and drain again. Cover and set aside. Squeeze the juice from both oranges and limes and place in a pan with the sugar. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool.

Halve the melons and discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh, taking care not to pierce the skins. Liquidise with the citrus syrup, then stir in the cream. Chill for at least half an hour. To serve, sit the melon halves snugly in two bowls and ladle in the soup. Scatter with hazlenuts and reserved zest.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy