Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Gazpacho with basil cream cheese ice cream bites

Well, after moving from Majorca to Belfast a few weeks ago,  I am just trying to settle in here. Specially in the cooking and food front. 

House is up and running, job seems ok, the children are finding a really welcoming environment -as well as the adults: I can only say I have felt so warmly welcomed so far- .... BUT when you are a food blogger (yes, I had been blogging for a while in Spanish at Tengo un horno y sé cómo usarlo) you  need to go on blogging, cooking, testing, writing about food, taking photos and so on.  However, I am finding it a bit tricky right now.

When you move from one country to another, you realize that there are a lot of little tiny things from your everyday life that you take for granted. It is not that you now live in a different language, use a different currency, or that your new car will have the wheel on the other side (by the way: I warn you. I am about to drive in here, babies!). Actually, I was prepared for all that stuff and, probably because I expected it, it has not been bad or difficult at all. 
However, I had not realized how used I was to have my cooking stuff readily avalaible. It is weird to realize you need any ingredient and not knowing automatically where to find it, what the best brand for a particular dish is, or the like. 
It has only been a couple of weeks, so I am more than sure that in another couple or so, I will have discovered a lot of those and I will have "my suppliers" identified again. It is only that it is an awkard feeling. 
By the way, if you can give me some advice on any sites (online or brick & mortar) for baking/cooking ingredients that you know and feel like recomending, I will be really grateful. 

It has been a really hot summer this year. So, for my first weeks here it is a good idea to recover one this I prepared last summer in Spain, in the middle of a torrid Majorcan summer. This is the recipe I am now sharing with you.

This is one of my discoveries from last summer. It is perfect in a hot day, but also in a not so hot one if you like soup and want to give it a Spanish twist.
 It is simple, but so worth sharing! Simply adding some small bites of basil cheese ice cream and a traditional and popular cold soup becomes a really special treat. Really simple, but with a refreshing and unexpected touch on the traditional Spanish gazpacho.

Being one of the most traditional dishes in the South of Spain, gazpacho is a tricky one. For some people, it should be done only in the most traditional way. Personally, I prefer to play and adapt any dish to my preferences, tastes, mood, or even to what's available in my fridge. If the result is ok, I do not worry whether it is "the real thing".
Besides, I only learned to prepare and get used to have gazpacho recently. It has never been a dish I had while growing up, as my parents'  live up north and they never prepared it at home. So I will not go into disputes about the best recipe, the tricks for having a "real" gazpacho or any of the like. I simply share a recipe that works for me, and hopefully, also for you, as it is so easy and delicious that once you prepare it for the first time, you will also introduce your own preferencies until making it yours. 
If you feel a bit intimidated by the cheese basil ice cream bites, you can go only for the gazpacho. However, they will take you only a couple of minutes to prepare and you will get that "Wow" effect for sure. 
Use herbs of your choice and change it to your liking. In any case, it is simple, fast, and you'll have a great result.

Ingredients (4 servings approximately)

1 kilo of ripe tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 small white onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper


Wash vegetables, clean and diced them. Place in the bowl of the mixer tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion and cucumber and mix everything well until smooth. Add the oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Whisk, taste and adjust, if necessary, salt, pepper or vinegar. You can add cold water if you prefer it more liquid, or left as is, to taste. I prefer to have mine sieved for a silky texture.  Put into the fridge in a closed container until ready to serve, chilled.

Basil cream cheese  ice cream bites

Ingredients (for about 10-12 bites)

2 tablespoons cream cheese (mascarpone or other cream cheese you like)
Two portions of spreadable cheese (like smailing cow)
Some chopped fresh basil leaves or a little dried basil

Put both cheeses in a bowl with the finely chopped basil leaves and mix them with a fork until you integrate all the ingredients. Take portions of dough and shape into balls with a couple of teaspoons, or with your wet hands if you find it easier. Place the balls on a small kitchen table. Once you have formed all the bites put the table with the balls on it in a freezer bag, to prevent them from sticking while freezing. After three to four hours, when they get frozen,  you can remove the table and leave them in the closed bag until use.

To serve,  stir well the gazpacho with a spoon, and put it as cold as you can in a bowl, topped with two or three balls of ice cream, and some fresh basil leaves.

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