Sadly this year the strawberry season came and went before we even realised it had ever got going. One day they had just arrived and were selling for a pricy 8 Lei/kilo, a few days later they had dropped to the standard 3 L/kg for in-season strawberries, and then seemingly a day later they had gone back up to 7 or 8 again. Looking back, I can see that two years ago, we still hadn't made our strawberry jam by this time, so I'm not mistaken, the season was not only extremely early, but over unexpectedly fast. Something to do with the mild winter and the hot spring we've had. Anyway, no jam for us this year.
The tomatoes are in though and are bloody gorgeous. I have no idea what the variety of tomato is called that we mostly get here, but they look like tomatoes with nipples. (I tried a google image search of "tomatoes with nipples" to see if I could show you what I mean, but for some reason just ended up with lots of pictures of nipples and very few tomatoes. That's the Internet for you.) They are incredibly tasty, juicy, delicious and all in all quite possibly the best tomatoes in the world (the tomatoes, I mean, not the pictures of nipples. I'm saying nothing about them) . I would gladly eat a kilo a day. Ok, maybe not that many, but I am getting down them. (Is there any danger of overdosing on tomatoes, by the way? I know they're somehow related to deadly nightshade or something, so perhaps there is some kind of threshold which you can pass and end up killing yourself with them. If I disappear from the blog suddenly, that might be why)
On Wednesday I made gazpacho, and even though I say so myself, it was delicious. The very first time I had gazpacho many years ago, I thought the whole idea of cold soup was ridiculous verging on the inedible. At some stage in the past though I revised this view considerably and now view gazpacho as one of the finest inventions that man has ever come up with. Here, just for Marshall is the recipe I used:
Stick the following in a blender:
¾ kg tomatoes (preferably be-nippled ones, but if they are not available, any ones that weren't bought from a supermarket will probably do)
1 large cucumber (or 3 -4 small ones if those are the type you get round your way)
1 green pepper
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
75 ml olive oil
75 mil wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
Put lid on, blend until liquid. (You can also keep aside one tomato a bit of cucumber and a bit of pepper and chop them up small by hand and then mix them in after to give the resultant soup a bit of bite). Chill for two hours - and while you're doing that, put the gazpacho in the fridge. (Oh ho ho. I should be on telly, I really should). That's it basically. Simple as anything. You can add a little salt and pepper if you think it needs it, but it might not so taste it first.
I know, I know, it looks like I've just described a recipe for salad in a blender, but that's basically what it is. And it is 100% delicious. Trust me. I'm off now for a tomato based lunch.