Posted 9th July 2010 by Josa Young
As the warm days stretch out into July, and we seem to be having a summer at last, our attitude to food changes. On the hottest days, we start to explore cool foods and spend less time cooking.
I find that cold soups, served with freshly baked bread, such as ciabatta or French stick, fill the gap wonderfully for summer evening suppers after a busy day. With some, there is no cooking needed at all, just blending ingredients in the food processor before chilling. With others, there is minimal cooking needed. The trick with cold soup is flavour - if you don't pay attention to the tang and savour of the soup, it can be a bit bland once it has been chilled. So taste it when it has reached the desired refreshing temperature, and add more of the appropriate seasonings before serving if necessary.
With Spain in the World Cup final, Gazpacho - a flavourful chilled tomato soup, almost like a salad in a bowl - seems like the perfect supper. You can prepare garnishes such as chopped egg and croutons to go with it to add texture. Or, for a twist on the theme, Avocado Gazpacho has a gorgeous smooth texture. You can pop a couple of ice cubes in each of these just before serving.
In the East there is a tradition of eating noodles cold in the summer. In Japan there are restaurants where noodles flow past diners in a little stream of iced water, to be fished out with chopsticks and placed in a variety of stocks, flavourings and garnishes. We don't expect you to install a running stream on your table, but this Cold Noodle Soup fits the bill very nicely for a summery oriental supper.