Brisbane is hot! Much hotter than I remember, after living in that city for at least half of my life. I’m not sure if I’ve become less heat tolerant as I’ve gotten older, if living in a cold climate for a couple of years damaged my heat sensors, or if climate change is having an immediate impact; but it really is hot.
We spent a week in Brisbane over Christmas visiting my family and friends. Much of the time was spent with my parents, preparing treats in the kitchen, swimming laps in the local pool to escape the heat, playing with my gorgeous niece, or checking out the nearby cafes, shops and cinema (all in air con, of course). The heat invites summer holiday lethargy, with its smell of sunscreen and sweat. It was a slow, relaxing week.
My parents’ neighbour had a bounty of homegrown cucumbers which were donated to us. After using them in a couple of green salads, we tried to come up with something more creative to make with them. We briefly debated a cucumber and mirin Japanese style salad or tzatziki, but I was keen to make the cucumbers into the main event. After all, they are perfect for the hot weather, having a great cooling and hydrating effect.
So gazpacho it was. Gazpacho hails from the southern regions of Spain, an area synonymous with hot weather and sweaty, sunny days. It is traditionally made with stale bread, which I instead swapped for the yoghurt. You can also peel and de-seed the tomatoes, but I was feeling lazy in the heat, plus I like a little texture. Interestingly, while browsing the internet for gazpacho recipes, I noticed that there is a white version made with almonds and grapes – this piqued my interest, so perhaps something to look out for on this site in due course.
It is a fairly quick process to prepare gazpacho, and you can easily make it ahead. Make sure you prepare the gazpacho at least an hour or two before eating, as it should be served chilled. This recipe serves 4 adults as a light main served with a green salad on a hot day, or as a starter. Oh, and bonus points for spotting my secret selfie on this page.
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 long red chilli, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded using a teaspoon
- 1 red capsicum (paprika, bell pepper), seeded and roughly chopped
- 5 large tomatoes (around 700g), roughly chopped
- 20g mint (around 4-5 stalks), roughly chopped
- 200g full-fat natural yoghurt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
- Additional salt and pepper, to taste
- Add the onion, garlic, chilli, salt, cucumber and half of the capsicum and tomatoes to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. This took about 30 seconds when I made it in a high speed blender the second time, but took a couple of minutes when I made it using my parents’ food processor.
- Add the mint, yoghurt, olive oil, vinegar, tabasco and the other half of the capsicum and tomatoes. Blend again until the ingredients have been incorporated and the vegetables broken down, but still has a little texture.
- Add to a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour (the longer the better) until cool. Season with salt, pepper and more tabasco if necessary. Serve chilled.