Veggies on the counter

Summer Peach Pudding

Posted in breakfast & brunch, desserts by veggies on the counter on August 16, 2013

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What I’m about to say might sound a bit weird, especially coming for someone in her mid-twenties who lives relatively close to the sea, but, I do not like going to the beach. I don’t like walking on sand and lying down in a beach towel with the sun hitting my back. I’m also not a fan of swimming (nor I do know how to swim well), particularly when the sea is packed with people (and, this time of the year, it is most of the time). Having said that, summer isn’t the season I’ve been anxiously waiting for the whole year.

But, even thought warm weather (particularly when it’s above the 30 degrees) and salty water aren’t my cup of tea, I do love summer’s produce. Watermelon and peaches are amongst my favourite fruits and I seem not to get enough of them these days. Early in the week, I went to the market and those good looking peaches definitely caught my eye. I was probably too enthusiastic about them, having bought way more than I could realistically eat before they start to over ripe. Not wanting to turn on the oven to bake a peach tart (my original plan), a raw pudding was in order.

Now, everyone who’s into whole foods have probably already used chia seeds to make puddings – it’s quick, almost effortless, and fits into the healthy-guilt-free-dessert category. I kind of regret having arrived late at the chia pudding party, because I definitely didn’t expect this treat to taste so good. It’s the perfect summer dessert – light, fresh and fruity. Did I say it’s also ridiculously easy to make? All you have to do is to peel and cut a couple of peaches and mix them in a food processor with chia seeds and dates. Pulse a few minutes, refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours – so that the chia start doing their magic (aka absorbing the moisture and thickening things up) – and that’s about it. Next time around I’ll be using apricots instead of peaches, and maybe trying out a different version with frozen watermelon, for an even fresher and almost sorbet-like dessert. Wish you guys a great weekend! (:

00 peaches

peach pudding

Summer Peach Pudding

(serves 4)

3 large peaches or nectarines / 700 grams, peeled, cored, and cubed

2 medjol dates, finely chopped

55 g / 1/3 cup chia seeds

1 vanilla bean, open lengthwise and seeds scraped (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a few moments or until smooth. Have a taste and, if it’s not as sweet as you’d like, add a few more medjol dates and blend again. Transfer the pudding to small bowls or jars, refrigerate for 2 hours, and serve. Garnish with extra chopped peaches if you like.

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Watermelon Gazpacho

Posted in soups by veggies on the counter on July 29, 2011

I haven’t been around for quite some time and that doesn’t come without an excuse: great amount of work and the consequent absence from the kitchen have slowed down my inspiration (and desire) to cook these days. Anyway, as I’m now officially on vacation, I’m slowly getting back on track. :) Summer has arrived and cold soups have been in my daily menu quite often. Having heard about Watermelon Gazpacho before, I decided, this time, to give it a try, by combining the ingredients that are usually used when making gazpacho (minus the bread), plus the addition of watermelon. Simple, tasty and refreshing was the outcome. I encourage you to give this one a try, specially if you’re looking for light and summery soups. I like the concept  of using seasonal fruits in chilled soups, and I’m tempted to try a version of gazpacho with cherries (which I’ve seen online) as well as a chilled melon soup I’ve spotted while flipping through the pages of The Millenium Cookbook.

Watermelon Gazpacho

(serves 3 to 4)

Ingredients:

3 cups (450 grams) seeded and diced watermelon

3 medium sized tomatoes (about 1 1/4 cups or 300 grams), peeled, seeded and diced

1 small cucumber (about 3/4 cup or 135 grams), peeled, seeded and diced

1 small white onion (about 1/3 cup or 50 grams), minced

2 tablespons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:

1 cup (140 grams) cooked corn kernels (cut from a medium sized corn cob)

1 medium sized onion, minced

a handful of chopped mint or basil leaves (I used the first)

1. In a large food processor or blender, blend the watermelon until smooth. Alternatively, if your food processor or blender isn’t large enough, you can work in batches.

2. Then, add the diced tomatoes, cucumber, white onion and ginger and purée until well blended. Finally, add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to the mixture, and pulse once again for a couple of seconds to combine. Add a taste and adjust the seasonings, adding a bit more salt and pepper if necessary.

3. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

4. In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the garnish.

5. To serve, pour the soup into chilled bowls or glasses and scatter 2 to 3 tablespoons of the corn and onion mixture on top.