We already know the devious effects of chilli on our body – stinging lips, raised temperature and a torrent of happy endorphins. Combine this with the sweet juiciness of strawberries, and we’ve got ourselves a situation.
No need for a caffeine fix today. This gazpacho will blow open your senses.
Lately I’ve been consumed by Niki Segnit’s Flavour Thesaurus which suggests treating strawberries like tomatoes. What about a salsa with diced avocado, lime, coriander leaves and strawberries tonight? Or try burrata with fresh basil and macerated strawberries, or tickling a juicy big strawberry punnet with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and black pepper. So weird, but so right.
Isabel Allende recommends doing all sorts of, uhm, creative things with strawberries in her book Aprhodite. Another favourite aphrodisiac of Allende’s is chilli. This unassuming red spice gifts us with immediate heat, and a delicious “sense of urgency.” So it’s worth combining them both on an a dull evening.
Smoked Chill & Strawberry Gazpacho
This chilled soup is raving with vitamins.
Think of berries as beauty bullets. Soaked with anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants and skin-plumping vitamin C, strawberries can help deter the pesky ageing process. And likely, increase your chances of a Helen Mirren bikini moment.
Grab the last of the summer strawberries, and feel the vitamins dance towards your skin. Very low on the glycemic index, a punnet a day won’t turn your blood sugar levels wonky.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small punnet / 250g baby tomatoes, quartered
Handful of strawberries, greens removed
1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
1 cup finely diced cucumber
3 spring onions, sliced
2 -3 cups / 500 – 700ml tomato passata
Juice of 1 large lemon
Fresh crack of black pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Basil leaves to decorate
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
Using a high-speed blender, blitz the garlic with your tomatoes and strawberries. Add in the remaining ingredients (excluding your olive oil and basil) and puree until smooth. If your lemon was huge, you may need to add a touch of maple syrup to balance the sharpness.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before spooning into five shallow soup bowls. Should the gazpacho seems too thick or separate in layers, give it another belt in the food processor before pouring into bowls. Tickle with fruity olive oil, ice cubes and a few basil leaves.
So stoked to feature in this month’s EKBB, after Gizzi Erskine. Very British. Very cool.