Roasted sweet garlic, bread and almond soup

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And so my love of cooking and baking never waivers. This morning I woke up thinking that I would like to cook a Spanish dish for my Spanish husband. Easier said than done. We had purchased a Spanish recipe book a few years back but have been quite lazy in making recipes. So I though that I might try again with the intention of making every single recipe in the book. Tall order…

The first recipe for ajo blanco.

Ajoblanco (sometimes written ajo blanco) is a popular Spanish cold soup typical from Granada and Málaga (Andalusia). It is also a common dish in Extremadura (Ajo Blanco Extremeño).This dish is made of bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and sometimes vinegar. It is usually served with grapes or slices of melon. When almonds were not available, for instance during the post-war period, flour from dried beans was used. Ajoblanco is sometimes referred to as “white gazpacho.”

It seemed simple enough but I somehow found myself looking at other recipes that were easier to understand and ended up with an anglicised modified Jamie Oliver version that was neither ajo blanco or sopa de ajo. However it tasted delightful.

Ingredients

3 large bulbs fresh garlic , broken up and skins left on

1 medium white onion , peeled and finely chopped

extra virgin olive oil

285 ml single cream

1 litre organic chicken or vegetable stock

1 large loaf ciabatta bread

2 tablespoons sherry or white wine vinegar

150 g whole blanched almonds , lightly toasted in the oven

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper
Grapes halves

Method

Roast the garlic cloves in a preheated oven at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 for around half an hour until soft to the touch. Meanwhile, take a large pot and slowly fry the white onion in 4 tablespoons of olive oil for about 10 minutes until really soft and translucent. Add the cream and the stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, awaiting your garlic. Remove the garlic from the oven and allow to cool slightly before squeezing out all the sweet, golden paste. Whisk this into the soup. Discard the garlic skins.
Remove the crusts from your ciabatta, rip up the bread into small pieces and throw into the soup. Add the sherry vinegar, then allow the soup to simmer for 5 more minutes. Whiz it until smooth in your food processor with your toasted almonds. Season nicely to taste and serve in big bowls sprinkled with some grape halves.

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