Thursday, 15 January 2015


Last Sunday we invited my husband’s friends from South Africa, who were visiting relatives in Sydney, for lunch.   Lately, when I am about to have people over, I exercise a great deal of care to find out what their dietary requirements are or whether they have any allergies.  Between wheat intolerance, dairy intolerance, nut allergies and all general food preferences one cannot be too careful.  Turned out that the husband eats everything while the wife is a pescetarian.  Apart from that, there were no further allergies or restrictions in their diet which I should have been concerned about.

Did I mention that it is summer season in Australia at the moment, and as it is quite hot and humid, it is perfect weather to have lunch alfresco?  Our apartment overlooks the ocean and, in good weather, we take all our meals on the balcony enjoying the view and a sea breeze.  To please my guests I covered the table with the tablecloth that my mother-in-law bought for me in Cape Town.  It is very summery, its is made out of thick white linen with red apples hand-painted all over it.

I knew that my menu should cater for the preferences of our guests but I also did not want to serve hot food, rather something refreshing, simple and light.  So here what I came up with:
Gazpacho soup
Smoked salmon roulade (pescetarian option)

If smoked salmon is not your preferred type of fish, you can easily cook Asian-infused barramundi from one of my previous blogs.  If you wish to splurge a bit more, fresh oysters with balsamic vinaigrette can find a place on your table.

Gazpacho soup
When I decided to make this soup for the very first time (not sure if I can use the word “cook” since there is no cooking involved), the recipe I chose to follow called for fresh tomatoes.  As this fruit in Australia is perpetually quite expensive, $4/kilo and more, and you need to peel them, I decided to cut corners and use canned ones, and I have never looked back.

To feed 8 people you need:
2X400 grams cans of chopped tomatoes (your preferred brand)
2 red capsicums
1 medium cucumber (peeled and seeds scraped)
1 medium Spanish onion
2 cloves of garlic (I adore garlic and use 4 or 5 cloves)
4 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A drop of two of Tabasco sauce
Handful of basil or parsley leaves (your own preference)

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz, I like mine to be fairly smooth with a bit of texture.  Check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.
If you and your guests are feeling a bit adventurous, add a splash of vodka to the soup.
Serve the soup cold with sprinkles of chopped basil or parsley on top and warm crusty bread on the side.

Smoked salmon roulade
To feed 8 people you need:
8-12 pieces of smoked salmon
A bunch of salad leaves
100 gr of Sicilian olives
2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons sliced into wedges
2 avocados, scooped and cubed
1/2 cup of chopped dill
Freshly ground black pepper

smocked salmon roulade

Arrange the leaves on a big serving platter, take a piece of salmon, roll it into a cigar shape and place on top of the salad leaves.  Repeat with the remaining pieces arranging them in the minutes of the clock pattern.  Scoop and cut the avocados into cubes and place them in the centre of the plate, scatter olives and dill around, squeeze lemon wedges between the salmon roulades and drizzle over with extra virgin olive oil and ground black pepper.


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