With a brand new 'Geordie Tan' established after exposing my poor white body to the elements at the weekend, I can safely say that the good weather does appear to be here. Ooyah.
Whether or not it is consistent is another matter. I've learned to make the most of a good thing over the years and hot weather has to be a good thing. It seems to make people happier, gets people outdoors and best of all, the air is filled with the unmistakeable smell of burnt sausages and burgers cooked by enthusiastic husbands in comedy aprons. The good thing being that men seem to want to cook food, burnt cheap bangers or not.
The BBQ is still to make it's debut in our garden this year. I'm too busy enjoying all of the new salad ingredients, especially the pepper hot radish and spring onions from my in-law's garden which I can never get enough of. The weekly delivery is still producing some amazing sweet deep orange carrots which gave me an idea for a cold soup to fill our stomach's and cool down our lobster-like bodies.
A quick pan roast of a load of chopped carrots and tomatoes to give a caramel edge would be the basis of a kind of gazpacho, my favourite of the classic cold soups. But instead of the fire of garlic you get with a gazpacho, I wanted the heat to be more mellow which is what a bunch of spring onions did. Nothing more than a handful of oregano, balsamic vinegar, seasoning and iced water were needed to make a delicious quenching soup that I think celebrates a few stars of the current season. And it went a long way to soothing our Geordie Tans.
Chilled Carrot and Spring Onion Soup
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
12 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
A splash of balsamic vinegar
A handful of fresh oregano, but any fresh herb such as parsley or marjoram would be great
500ml fresh cold water and a handful of ice cubes
Salt and pepper
1 - Heat up the oil in a pan. Add the carrots and tomatoes and cook, stirring, until coloured and beginning to caramelise.
2 - Reserve a couple of spring onions and add the rest along with the balsamic vinegar. Heat up and combine thoroughly then remove from the heat.
3 - Add to a blender along with the herbs, water and ice cubes. Blitz until thoroughly blended. Taste for seasoning.
4 - Serve chilled in bowls with a few slices of spring onion and a grinding of fresh black pepper.