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Gazpacho is a classic chilled soup, deliciously refreshing on a hot summers day and was traditionally made in a Spanish mortar or mortero. Today a blender or food processor will take all the hard work without compromising on flavour.
1 kilo of skinned, deseeded and diced tomatoes
1 red pepper, cored deseeded and roughly chopped
1 cucumber diced
2 slices of day old crusty bread
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon of artificial sweetener (golden caster sugar)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few drops of Tabasco sauce
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
Score a cross in the base of each tomato. Put in a heat proof bowl, pour over boiling water to cover and leave for 10-15 seconds. Drain and plunge into cold water and peel away the skins. Cut the tomatoes in half, deseed and roughly chop the flesh, then transfer into a blender or food processor.
Break the bread into small pieces and soak in a bowl of cold water for 5-6 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add to the tomatoes in the blender with the red pepper, cucumber, garlic, sugar, vinegar, oil and Tabasco. Blend until smooth, adding a little chilled water if you want a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
To serve, ladle the gazpacho into chilled bowls and top with the parsley.