Gazpacho à la Manon (preparation time +/- 20minutes with canned tomatoes/45minutes with fresh tomatoes)
When the sun is out and it is hot outside, I love to make gazpacho. It is a cold tomato soup with finely diced raw veggies in it. I really like it but most importantly, the kids love it!
It is actually a very easy soup to make. For this recipe I use fresh tomatoes, but I often like to add some canned tomatoes as well to enhance the taste (a single can should do the trick). In case you shouldn’t have any quality fresh tomatoes, then do not hesitate to just use canned tomatoes only (this saves you a lot of time of course!).
2 kilos fresh tomatoes or 5 canned tomatoes (use the BPA-free cans!)
½ Cucumber (peeled) cut into small cubes
4 large sticks of celery cut into small cubes
1 large or 2 small finely diced shallots in a cup to which you add some red wine vinegar to slightly soften the sharpness of the shallots.
1 or 2 toasted slices of bread crumbs, which will help thicken the soup.
Olive oil, salt & pepper
1 minced garlic glove
Vegetable stock (if the soup is too thick)
How to prepare:
If you are using fresh tomatoes, you have to peel them. This is really easy, trust me! Boil water in a big pan. Use a small knife to carve a little cross in the skin at the bottom of each tomato (the opposite side of the crown 😉 ), which should help the skins come off easily.
Put the tomatoes in the boiling water and take them out after (not even) one minute. Place them in a bowl with cold water and now you can take the skin off the tomatoes. Take out the crown and cut the tomatoes in large pieces and put them in the large bowl.
When using the canned tomatoes, you can just put all the tomatoes into the large bowl and go straight to the next step.
Put half of the cucumber cubes, the celery cubes and the shallots in the bowl as well. Now you can start with blending everything until it becomes a soup. When the soup is too thin, you can add toasted bread crumbs. When it is too thick, you can add some (cold) vegetable stock.
I love garlic and I use it in almost every dish I make. However, raw garlic can be quite overwhelming, especially for young children. This is why I don’t add it to this soup. With the shallots drenched in red vinegar in it, I can assure you it will have a great taste as well.
Add salt and pepper and put the soup and a separate bowl with the veggies in the refrigerator to chill. Serve the soup when cold., which is how it’s supposed to be: completely chilled. Obviously we don’t always have time to leave the soup a couple of hours to chill. So please do not hesitate to serve it to your children room temperature in case they are hungry and should start crying… The taste will be (almost) as good anyway and the last thing we want is hungry children, right?
Serve the soup in bowls and use the other half of the cucumber, celery and shallots to put on top of the serving bowls, sprinkle it with some olive oil and your dinner is ready!
Serve it with a baguette and I am sure it will be a great success!
Tomato & Vegetable Soup (preparation time +/- 50 minutes)
Tomato soup is a very easy dish to give to your children. Especially if you make sure the soup is not too thin, they will be able to eat it themselves. I always add as many vegetables as I have in my refrigerator (which is a lot).
The kids really enjoy this warm and hearty dish!
A large pot or casserole, such as the Le Creuset ‘Dutch Oven’
1 or 2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
3 canned tomatoes (try to buy the BPA-free cans)
3-4 cups of vegetables, cut into cubes/small pieces. You can add as many or as little different vegetables as you want. I really love the combination of tomato and cauliflour, but you can try other vegetables, such as: broccoli, a few carrots or zucchini.
+/- 1 liter of boiled water (you can always add more water after blending the soup, so start with less than one liter)
2 cubes of vegetable stock
½ teaspoon of Ras El Hanout (it gives more depth to the taste of the soup)
Small (homemade) meatballs for the meat-lovers!
Put the chopped onions with a little bit of vegetable oil in the large pot on medium heat. Fry the onions until soft and golden brown
Add the crushed garlic and fry for one minute
Add all the ground spices (e.g. cumin, paprika, fennel seeds and the optional Ras El Hanout) and fry for 1 minute
Add the canned tomatoes, the cubed vegetables, the boiled water and the vegetable stock cubes and let it cook until the vegetables are soft. Note: it is easier to start off by adding less water and to add more after blending, than the other way around!
Let it cool down a little bit before using the hand-held blender and blend it until the soup is completely smooth. If the soup is too thick, add some boiled water.
Optional: add the meatballs, put the pot on low heat to cook the meatballs and wait until they are completely cooked.
Your soup is ready! For the children I always serve it with some (toasted) bread cut into ‘fries’ so that they can dip the bread into the soup. It’s easier for them to eat it like that and they love the fact that they can eat it themselves!