June 20, 2011

Algarvian tomato soup with a Swedish twist

How's your summer? Over here it's going fast, too fast! Even the strawberry season is early this year, does it mean that we'll get early fall? Hope not!

Coming home from vacation is always a little special. You realize that you are back in your everyday-ness, which is not bad at all but you don't want let the vacation feeling go. Not yet :)
This tomato soup brings me back to Algarve, the southern part of Portugal. Amazing place, breathtaking beaches and landscape, nice people. In Algarve, they seem to know what good food is about. If you happen to spend your vacation there some time, don't expect anything pretentious. It's a simple&fresh concept. We didn't have anything that we haven't eaten before but speaking for myself, it's been the best (restaurant) food I've had - at most of the places. 
Algarvian cuisine is full of fresh ingredients. They don't bother making their own aioli for exemple, but they do bother using fresh vegetables for their vegetable sauces, soups and fish/meat dishes. One ingredient that is typical for this region is piri-piri, a sort of small chilli peppers. You get them anywhere in the world but I couldn't resist taking some home with me as a souvenir. 

In this soup I tried to combine the fresh tomatos with basil and piri-piri together with the Swedish "gravad lax" which stands for pickled raw salmon or dill-cured salmon. It worked! Feta cheese is not necessary, but it will please you :)

Algarvian tomato soup with a Swedish twist

7-8 tomatoes
1 onion 
1 - 2 cloves of garlic
organic vegetable stock
dried oregano 
fresh basil
(sea) salt
ground black pepper
granulated sugar
1-2 dried piri.piri
olive oil

feta cheese
"gravad lax"
fresh basil
bread or a pie crust

1. Boil enough water to pour over the tomatos.
2. Chop the onion and garlic.
3. Peel and chop the tomatos.
4. Use olive oil to roast the onion, garlic and tomatos. Add vegetable stock, season with salt, black pepper, crushed piri-piri and sugar. Let simmer for a while. Add basil and oregano.
5. When the tomatos are cooked through, puree the soup until semi-smooth or smooth - as you wish.
6. Serve in a bowl and garnish with salmon, feta and some basil. 

This feta-salmon-basil tart made a perfect company for the soup. And a filling, tasteful, vacation-like lunch for me :)

June 1, 2011

Wrap it up with "hummus"

Welcome June! I'm so happy you're here at last! The month of endless light and green. It's now it all happens and it's now people feel and act like they are actually alive :) I've been struggling with studies and work for the last few weeks but it's because of the coming summer that I seem to cope and be able to enjoy. And what's tortilla wraps to do with all this? Pretty much nothing, just that it's a perfect lunch alternative when you don't feel like or don't have the time to cook. Our summer food will be a lot like this: fresh and fast, though homemade. I've been making my own hummus for quite a while now and this one was so good that I must share it with you. It's actually not a real hummus because it's not made with the tahini paste but I still think it's more like hummus than anything else. Try and see. I make and eat loads of it! It's great also as a dip with carrot or cucumber sticks, bread or anything..And the "secret" ingredient? Just guess! Guessing greek yogurt? Bingo!

Homemade "hummus"

You need:
1 can chick-peas
3 TBsp thick greek yogurt
2 TBsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 sundried tomatoes (optional)

+ tortillas, tomatoes, rucola or any green sallad leaves, red onion

Put all the hummus iugredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Spread a nice layer of the hummus on the tortilla, decorate with sallad, tomatoes and red onion. Wrap it up and enjoy. That's all.