It's a thing you can have in the summertime. One, because it's chilled and, two, because you need seasonal tomatoes. But it's very simple and easy to make (in the whizzer). I decided to make some using a recipe that came from the wife of the Spanish Ambassador (via Pippa), so bona fide. I couldn't believe the amount of olive oil you were supposed to put in, so I only put half the amount, and it came out a bit thick.
Nunney tried a spoonful.
Nunney: Ugh, that's horrible.
Me: That's the Spanish Ambassador's Gazpacho.
Nunney: It's liquidised salad.
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life, Nina Stibbe
I had never planned on being a nanny. After leaving teaching, and then my job as a young people's theatre producer, I assumed that, moving forward, the kids I would spend the most time with would be the ones that my friends were having - or perhaps one I may eventually have myself. And then in February 2016, I moved into a room in a family house in Clapham. I arrived with a bag filled with books, a hardy green plant in a pot, and a small selection of things from my wardrobe. A ten-year-old helped me unpack that first night, asking a thousand questions while she did: which dress was my favourite, why I needed so many lipsticks, how many books I could read in a month, why I didn't sound as Australian as the characters on Home and Away.
Since that first night, we've been through a lot together. We've traveled (to Santa Barabara and Majorca), we've grumbled as we fought off shared colds, we've baked more biscuits than I can count, we've crammed for Latin tests, we've decorated a Christmas tree. After eighteen months, I know that this (now) eleven-year-old, her seven-year-old brother, and their mum, will be part of my life forever. Being a nanny hasn't been like any other job I've had, and leaving it doesn't feel familiar either. I am leaving much more than a job, but a house I have called home.
This weekend, I'll put my books into boxes in the loft, pack as many dresses as I can fit into my suitcase, and will sadly relegate the hardy green plant to the bin (less a well-timed metaphor than a result of neglect - it never quite recovered from my abandoning it for a month in July). I saved Love, Nina for these final weeks of nannying, and am so pleased I did. The book is a warm and witty look at life in someone else's home, and time spent building relationships with a family. It reinforced the feeling I have of being part of a unique club; a group of friends and strangers who are ex-nannies, inextricably linked to the families we have shared a home with.
1kg fresh tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
Half a cucumber cucumber
Half a large red onion
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Generous pinch flaky sea salt
150ml good olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice 600g of the tomatoes in half, and arrange them in a single layer in a roasting tray. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the tray, drizzle with a little oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes until soft, and caramelised at the edges. Allow to cool.
2. Blitz the roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and garlic in a blender until smooth. Add the red wine vinegar, taste and season.
3. While the blender is running, slowly pour in the olive oil. The soup should be smooth, creamy and emulsified.
4. Press the soup through a fine sieve, and refrigerate until cold - at least four hours. Whisk it when it comes out of the fridge, pour into chilled bowls, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.