Beating the summer away.

No, this isn’t get-away to the continent story – it’s more food which is my focus this month. If buying pre=packaged food and smoothies makes you drop a tear every time you throw yet another piece of plastic into the recycle bin then it’s time to start creating a new and healthy food range from your own kitchen.

Yep, I’m no master chef but I can tell you it’s very possible. All you need is a blender, some reusable containers to keep your Jamie Oliver-style signature dishes inside of and some fresh vegetables from your local market. Don’t forget to bring a bag with you before you head off there.

Convenient and versatile.

You’ll be surprised how much food you already have in your kitchen which can be thrown into the blend. Gordon Brown said just the other day that the average family chucks out £400 of food each year. I know most of my wasted food is usually vegetables – perfect to meet the blending machine.

Here’s a few recipes which will get you started with a few common vegetables found at your local vegetable market.

Gazpacho (cold soup)

This is the one to make on that sweltering day – take it outside, sit on a bench and let your taste buds have a party on you, all the while refreshing.

Ingredients: 1 cucumber, 1 green pepper, a couple of peeled red onions, 1 skinned garlic clove, about 8 off the vine tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of wine vinegar, a can of tomato juice and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt.

Go ahead and wash all the vegetables, puree them with a blender and – hey Sevilla you have yourself Gazpacho. Pour it into a glass half-filled with ice cubes and serve. Chuck in a few croutons for good measure.

Classic Carrot and Coriander Soup

Ingredients: 1 sliced onion, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, half a kilo of carrots, 1.5 litres vegetable stock, bunch of fresh coriander, freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Heat up the oil and add the onions and carrots until soft followed by the coriander for an extra minute to 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil and then simmer until the veggies are nice and tender. Now for the exciting bit – pull out the blender and blend away until there are no longer any actual pieces of vegetables. Reheat when done and serve stirring in the frsh coriander.

Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients: 1 big-as-you-can-find mango (remember to remove the stone), 3 peeled bananas, 400ml of orange juice.

Simple to make and you’ll be kicking yourself why you haven’t already been making them. Just blend them altogether until – smooth! Serve immediately. If you’d like to try a different variation then blend away one of your favourite chocolate bars.

What did we use? For all our recipes we used the Philips Hand Blender (HR1372)- a superb machine for anyone who loves beating about in the kitchen. Once you get this product out of the box you won’t need to be told it’s for professional use – it’s sturdy and sexy to boot,

It comes with a handy beaker for no-mess processing and has optional accessories for added versatility including an XL and a mini chopper and whisk accessory. The stainless-steel whisk is ideal for whipping up creams, while the XL chopper easily cuts large quantities of ingredients and ice down to the size you need. It also chops nuts and herbs to help you spice things up. And the anti-splash blade guard keeps your kitchen top safe from unwanted food spills. Cleaning the hand blender is a piece of cake as the stem detaches easily for rinsing under the tap or placing in the dishwasher. With the Philips hand blender, whizzing up the foods you love to eat is fun, fast and hassle-free and at a price tag of £65 is really excellent value for such a tough product.

This product is a definite keeper and you won’t be needing to buy any other hand blender in the near future. It’s part of the Philips Aluminium Collection so is quite a looker and fits in well with a sharp looking kitchen.