|Chilled Green Gazpacho||Glazed Courgette & Lemon Dessert Cake|
Chilled Green Gazpacho garnished with edible flowers and to follow - Glazed Courgette & Lemon Dessert Cake served with a selection of mixed summer berries.
These recipes are perfect for a light, mid-summer luncheon in very hot weather! The gazpacho is very refreshing with it's slight hint of minty coolness. The cake cuts easily into 16 portions - as it's richly lemon-sharp, you don't need huge slices. We ate it accompanied by some lightly sparkling ginger water kefir, which is extremely refreshing in hot weather. As we'd just come back into the kitchen after recording our piece about summer crops in a polytunnel which was over 45 deg C - it was very welcome!
From the polytunnel these recipes use cucumbers, the last of the Welsh onions, garlic, mint and garlic chives for the gazpacho - and for the dessert cake we're using up some of the yellow courgette glut, some of my lemon-quats ( like lemons) and our own eggs from our organic free-range hens who also eat greens from the tunnel. The cake is served with a selection of summer berries from the tunnel. (New courgette recipes are always great to have at this time of year because from now on anyone who grows them has a glut to deal with sooner or later!)
These are both really fast, easy 'all-in-one' recipes that you can just chuck into the food processor and don't have to fuss over - because the last thing you want to do in hot weather is spend hours in the kitchen.
Both can be made ahead the day before and are actually much better for it. The flavours of the gazpacho develop more as they blend and interact with each other overnight!
The gazpacho is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, healthy probiotic ingredients and phytonutrients. The cake is even more moist the day after baking.
There is sugar in it - but it's natural, unbleached organic sugar - not GMO beet sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which our bodies don't recognise and can't deal with naturally. It's also made with wholemeal spelt flour which contains all the healthy nutrients of the original grains and takes longer for our bodies to metabolise. I actually really dislike the taste of white flour in cakes and haven't used it in in 40 years!
Cake is however a rare treat in this house - as most of the time we tend to eat a low carbohydrate, high healthy fat diet and we're very careful not to eat too much sugar - so we don't eat any refined carbohydrates like biscuits, white pasta, white bread or other processed products. As a result - we can enjoy eating the occasional treat of a small piece of cake and our body can deal efficiently with metabolising the natural sugar it contains, as it will be more sensitive to it. This is very different to constantly eating carbohydrates and sugar, several times a day, every day in a wide range of processed products. If you don’t eat sugar all the time, you also tend to want to eat less, as your taste buds aren’t over-accustomed to it. We just find that eating this way we feel better, don't have sugar 'highs' or 'crashes', are able to maintain our weight at a level we like and are healthier.
Recipe note. As usual - all the ingredients I use are 100% organic (except in the case of a seasoning like Tabasco where very little is used!). Organic ingredients are scientifically proven to be more nutritious, higher in healthy omega-3 fats and health-promoting phytonutrients. They also naturally contain fewer chemical pollutants like pesticides, heavy metals or additives. Organic may sometimes be a little more expensive - but ultimately there is no doubt that they are healthier and save on doctors bills! Good health is priceless! This is how we've eaten here for over 40 years but it's up to you - non-organic alternatives are easily available everywhere.
Chilled Green Gazpacho
This is a lovely light and refreshing summer soup which is meant to be served chilled
For the gazpacho - just a knife and a blender/food processor.
Serves 2-4....depending on whether this is a dainty meal for 'ladies who lunch' or for heartier, hot weather appetites!
1 large cucumber chopped (not peeled)
1 yellow sweet pepper - stalk removed, de-seeded & chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 average sized avocado
1 small 50 g piece of yellow or green courgette, chopped - not peeled.
1 bunch of Welsh or spring onions/scallions (about 6-10 depending on size)
Mint - about 8-10 largish leaves chopped.
(I use Swiss mint as it's the best one for cooking. Be careful with other mints and don't use too much at first - you can always add more if you feel it's needed - but you can't take it away!)
200ml Full fat yoghurt or kefir – (I always use my own homemade milk kefir as it's far higher in probiotic microbes than yogurt but normal natural yogurt is fine. (See how to make basic milk kefir elsewhere on blog)
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
A few drops of green Tabasco to taste - about 1/4 tsp but be careful - if you don't like heat
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of good balsamic is also nice as a seasoning but is not strictly necessary
I also add 1/2 teaspoon of Japanese Matcha organic green tea powder - again not strictly necessary but gives a lovely colour, is pre-biotic and adds phytonutrients.
Depending on how thick you like it (gazpacho is meant to be thick) – also some water to thin it - possibly about 50ml
Some edible flowers & chives or garlic chives to garnish ( I used small violas, a chicory flower and some garlic chives).
Salt & pepper to taste
Chop everything up apart from the garnishes & throw it all into the food processor or blender. Blend as smoothly as possible. If your blender isn't good at blending large amounts of liquid smoothly - put all the solid ingredients in first and blend them really well - then gradually add the liquids and blend again until smooth. (This would blend well in a Nutribullet blender but won't all fit in - you could do it in 2 halves though and then mix the 2)
Chill in the fridge - preferably overnight. Serve garnished with the chives and edible flowers, with some nice crusty bread or low carbohydrate crackers.
That's it - the easiest soup recipe ever!! That's also the really healthy first course done - so you don't feel have to feel guilty about the pud afterwards!
Glazed Courgette & Lemon Dessert Cake
You'll need a roughly 25cm springform cake tin. Some grease-proof paper or baking parchment. You could make this by hand, beating all the mixture together - but using a food processor is a lot easier!
200g of very soft butter
200g of unbleached organic caster sugar
2 Un-waxed organic lemons (organic are always un-waxed)
3 large eggs
300g of coarsely grated courgette flesh (after removing stalk ends)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
300g of wholemeal spelt flour (you can use ordinary wholemeal but spelt is nicer for cakes giving a lovely soft crumb)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tsp poppy seeds
Ingredients for glaze:
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
75g caster sugar
1. Line the cake tin with baking parchment cut to size
2. Heat oven to 180 deg C or 170 deg C (fan)
3. Zest & juice the 2 lemons - putting 4 tablespoons of the juice into a small saucepan with the 75g of sugar to warm later for the glaze
4. Put all the ingredients for the cake into the food processor
5. Blend it all well, pour into the cake tin, smooth the top and put into the oven.
6. Cook for 50 minutes at 170C - then turn down to 160C for the last 10 minutes. If top is browning too much at this stage cover with a piece of baking parchment - it should be a nice golden brown. It doesn't matter if there are some cracks in the surface - this is normal.
7. When the cake has finished cooking - make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the 4 tablespoons of leftover lemon juice.
8. Leave the cake in the tin once it's cooked and when it's been out of the oven cooling for 5 minutes or so - use a cocktail stick to spike the surface about 2-3 cm/1 in apart all over, then spoon the warmed glaze as evenly over the surface as possible - it will run down the sides a bit but this doesn't matter – it makes it all the more delicious! Scatter a few more poppy seeds lightly over the surface if you like - or some lemon zest. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
This cake is nice when just cooled - but it is even better if left overnight when it becomes more moist. It also freezes very well. Delicious served just on it's own or with some berries and floppy, half-whipped, organic double cream for an elegant summer dessert.