Spanish Food - How To Make Spicy Gazpacho Soup.

Home-made soups are so good for you - all that nourishing stock and chock-a-block full of vitamins and minerals.

But ... who on earth could face boiling bones for hours on end during the scorching Spanish summer weather, not to mention preparing the soup once the stock is made? I don´t think it would tickle anybody´s fancy to then have to tuck into a piping-hot soup!

For this reason, the Spanish came up with their wonderful, ice-cold soup - gazpacho - beautifully colorful, packed with goodness, cheap and simple to prepare, no cooking and ... most important of all, an absolute delight to drink.

Traditional gazpacho originates from romantic Andalucia - that large, exotic southerly region of Spain which is home to such extensive Arabic influence.

The chilled, raw soup was originally made by pounding bread and garlic with tomatoes, cucumber and peppers but, nowadays, your electric blender renders this effortless! Olive oil endows it with a smooth, creamy consistency and vinegar adds a refreshing tang - just what you need when life gets too hot to handle!

The spicy soup should be served in true Spanish style with small bowls of accompaniments - finely chopped peppers, cucumber, onion ... even hard-boiled eggs and croutons, if you feel up to it! Guests will then sprinkle what appeals to them on the soup.

Traditional gazpacho is tomato-based, with most Spanish families having developed their own, unique recipes. However, nowadays, you will also find gazpacho recipes that have nothing to do with tomatoes - white, almond-based gazpachos, fruit-based gazpachos, etc.

Do you suffer from insomnia? Could be that drinking gazpacho is the answer, for in Pedro Almodovar´s 1987 film "Mujeres Al Borde De Un Ataque De Nervios", various characters help themselves to the soup and promptly fall asleep!

However, don´t fall asleep just yet as you haven´t read over the recipe!

Ingrediants for 4 servings:

- 4 ripe tomatoes - 1 onion - ½ red pepper - ½ green pepper - ½ cucumber - 3 cloves garlic - 50 g bread - 3 dessertspoons vinegar - 8 dessertspoons olive oil - Water - Salt/pepper - ¼ chilli pepper (optional)

Garnishings:

- 2 hard-boiled eggs - ½ finely chopped onion - ½ finely chopped red pepper - ½ finely chopped green pepper - ½ finely chopped cucumber

Method:

1. Break up bread and soak in water for 30 minutes.

2. Skin tomatoes, remove seeds and stalks from peppers.

3. Peel cucumber, onion and garlic.

4. Chop onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and cucumber.

5. Place in electric blender.

6. Squeeze out excess water from bread and add to blender.

7. Add oil and vinegar.

8. Blend well.

9. If necessary, add sufficient water for soup-like consistency.

10. Pour into a bowl with ice cubes.

11. Fridge for a couple of hours.

12. Serve in bowls, with garnishings in separate dishes.

Gazpacho is best enjoyed sitting in the shade, looking out onto an azure sea, blue sky and golden sun and sands!

Linda Plummer is webmistress of the site: http://www.top-tour-of-spain.com which provides a wide range of information regarding Spain and the Spanish language.

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