Almond Soup

During our last week on holiday we went to Teteria Baraka late one evening as the sun was setting. Baraka is lively during the day, an internet cafe, gelateria, kebabs, international newspapers. In the evening they serve simple food mostly North African but so much of the food in this area is influenced by North Africa it seems tardy to emphasise the difference. We ate salad, almond soup, vegetable couscous and beef tagine. The almond soup was divine. Cool, creamy, so much flavour, served with a swirl of spiced oil. The next day we drove to Malaga and spent ages wandering round the Picasso museum. It was cool, light, and is the main repository of the Picasso family collection. What surprised me was the tenderness of his paintings – mostly of his family – and drew the inevitable connections between the figurative paintings and his abstracts, and helped me understand them better. Late afternoon after wandering the back streets of old Malaga, experiencing the blasting heat of the sun against white buildings and the welcome cool shade of narrow streets echoing with footsteps but rarely a person seen, we searched for somewhere promising to eat. What we were looking for didn’t emerge and I wish I had re-read Arpi Shively’s Malaga blog again before leaving. However luck was on our side when we found La Consula.  Again, the almond soup. I thought I’d try it again to compare with last night’s. It was divine. Better. Creamier.  I vowed to make it.

Meanwhile, himself – as you know a confirmed vegetarian of 35 years – needs no persuading to consume vast amounts of Alpujarran jamon.  So for him it was a fancy anchovy and tomato salad, followed by the Malagan equivalent of ham, egg and chips!  1-photo (6) 1-photo (4)Mine was oxtail – rich, dark – with chips.  Mouthwatering.

Yesterday I made the soup. Why have I never made this soup before?  1. It is simple. 2. It is quick. 3. You don’t need to cook it. 4. You can prepare it well in advance. 5. It is simply delicious.

1-photo (2)

Blanche 100g almonds and then remove skins (yes, they really are tastier if you do this). Put in a blender with 3 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Blend using a high speed and pulse, then add a scant pint of cold water, 125ml olive oil and 25ml sherry vinegar.  That’s it. Finito benito or however you might say it in Spanish. I left it in the blender and put in the fridge for about 4 hours till the lovely Su arrived for dinner. We sat in the courtyard and pretended we were still in Spain, drinking beer and Rioja – kindly provided by Su – eating jamon and olives. Then served the soup in cold dishes garnished with another swirl of olive oil. Looked impressive, tasted even better!

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