As a starter, snack or warm winter lunch soup is the perfect comfort food and it is so simple to make for yourself.
Serves 4 - 6
- 1-1¼kg/2lb 4oz-2lb 12oz ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 1 small carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 squirts of tomato purée (about 2 tsp)
- a good pinch of sugar
- 2 bay leaf
- 1.2 litres/ 2 pints hot vegetable stock (I used 2 vegetable stock cubes)
- Prepare your vegetables. Wash the tomatoes and cut each tomato into quarters and slice off any hard cores (they don't soften during cooking). Peel the onion and chop it and the celery and carrot into small pieces.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, heat it over a low heat. Tip in the chopped onion, carrot and celery, mix them together with a wooden spoon. With the heat still low, cook the vegetables until they're soft (about 10 minutes). Stir them two or three times so they cook evenly and don’t stick to the pan.
- Squirt in about 2 teaspoons of tomato purée, then stir it in so it turns the vegetables red. Add the tomatoes, the sugar and a little black pepper. Tear the bay leaves into a few pieces and add them to the pan. Mix everything together, put the lid on the pan and let the mixture stew over a low heat for 10 minutes until the tomatoes shrink down and their juices flow.
- Slowly pour in the 1.2 litres/ 2 pints of hot stock (made with boiling water and 2 stock cubes), stirring at the same time to mix it with the vegetables. Turn the heat up to high until everything is bubbling, then turn the heat down to low again and put the lid back on the pan. Cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. At the end of cooking, the tomatoes will have broken down and will be very slushy.
- Remove the pan from the heat, take the lid off (be careful as the steam will escape here and it will be very hot) take out the pieces of bay leaf and throw them away. Ladle the soup into your blender (fill until it’s about three-quarters full). Blitz the soup until it's smooth (lift the lid to check after about 30 seconds), then pour the puréed soup into a large bowl. Repeat with all the soup that’s in the pan. (The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating.)
- Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and reheat it over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until you can see bubbles on the surface. Taste a spoonful and add a little salt and more pepper and sugar if you want to. You can add another teaspoon of tomato purée here if the colour isn't to your liking. Ladle into bowls and serve.
- Enjoy with crusty bread (shop bought or homemade) or maybe even cheese on toast or garlic bread - the choice is yours.
With Christmas just a few days away my next recipe is the perfect drink for the children or those adults who don't want an alcoholic drink - you could add a little vodka and turn this recipe into a fabulous festive cocktail if you wished - make sure you don't mix them up though if you do decide to make two batches of this though...
Cherry Sparkle Mocktail
Makes 700ml (serves 3-4)
- 225g fresh, ripe cherries
- 600ml freshly boiled water
- Half a lime
- 50g Caster sugar
- Chilled Sparkling water (to taste)
- Ice Cubes
- Destalk and wash the cherries. Halve them and take out the stones
- Put the cherries in a bowl and bruise slightly with the back of a spoon
- Pour the hot water over them and stir
- Peel the lime to create zest (long or small pieces are fine), juice the lime and then add both the zest and lime along with the sugar into the bowl - stir until the sugar is dissolved
- Cover and leave for 2 hours
- Strain off the liquid
- divide into 3 or 4 glasses
- Top with ice cubes and a little sparkling water
Both of these recipes needed boiling water - I filled my kettle using the water from the BRITA Jug. You may not think that using filtered water makes much of a difference to a recipe that you are using boiled water in but I can honestly say that it does. Your recipes taste so much better when you are using water that has all the chemical nasties (although they cause us no harm) removed from them.
*We were sent a BRITA Filter Jug and a gift voucher to buy ingredients for the purpose of this post - all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own*