Our fridge is starting to fill up with tomatoes from the garden, I seem to be harvesting them much faster than I can eat them. Emma suggested making a tomato soup and pointed me towards the Red Onion & Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup recipe in the Covent Garden Soup & Beyond book.
I have had to slightly adapt the recipe, leaving out the onions and using a tube of pureéd basil instead of fresh basil leaves, as well as roughly halving the ingredients to make it serve 2.
Place the following in a roasting pan and put in the oven at gas mark 5 for about 50 minutes, until the tomato skins start to brown slightly.
- 1.5lb tomatoes from the garden
- Sprinkle of salt
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Leave the tomatoes to cool for a few minutes then liquidize and pour into a pan. Add 1tsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 heaped tsp of dark brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, add the basil and some water to make it a decent soupy consistency.
Our tomatoes can be a bit bland and watery so I didn't add the full 150ml of water (I actually used slightly more than the 1.5lb of tomatoes since I picked more this morning and I added any where the skins had split). I made the soup in advance and let it stand for a few hours to let the flavours mix together properly.
The soup was made using some spare roast butternut squash from the freezer. The rest of the ingredients were:
- 2 small onions, 1 leek, 2 cloves of garlic. Chopped and fried until softened.
- 1 tub of chicken stock.
- 1 tbs chopped parsley
- 1 medium sized cooked potato
- A pinch of salt.
- 1 diced carrot.
Everything was simmered for about an hour then left to cool before being liquidized. There was enough for 2 days. Day 1 was a mug of the soup with diced chicken added. For day 2 I cooked some 'soup mix' which contained pasta, pulses and grains. This made the soup very thick, almost like drinking a stew.
Yesterday we went to the supermarket and bought a loaf of fresh-baked multiseed bread. We thought it would go very well with some soup for lunch but we didn't have any packets or tins of soup in the house. I thought I'd make a simple leek and potato soup but I realised we didn't have any stock (either fresh or cubes) so I would have to make everything from scratch.
I realised that we had a lot of vegetables in the house, some were 'staples', some were leftover from Christmas, others (such as the celeriac) were bought yesterday from the 'reduced' section of the supermarket.
I started off by dicing the veg and adding them to a pan with just enough water to cover everything. In went 1 sweet potato, 1 onion, ½ leek, 1 carrot, 3 cloves of garlic, ¼ celeriac, 1 cooked potato, and some of the leftover roast butternut squash from the freezer. I added a sprinkle of fresh parsley and 1 diced chicken breast, and simmered everything until the veg were cooked.
Everything went in the liquidizer. To serve, we added some jerk seasoning to add salt and spiciness (no salt went into the cooking liquid) and some double cream.
It ended up a bit more complicated than the simple leek and potato soup I intended to make but it was good, and there was enough left over to go in the fridge for another day.
This weeks recipe came from the Mail on Sunday. When we first read it, it sounded unusual and interesting. Since we recently tried Chocolate and Beetroot Cake, we thought another strange vegetable cake was worth trying.
The cake came out quite moist and lightly spiced. We made a few slight changes, using allspice instead of ground cloves, and doubling the quantity of cinnamon. You couldn't tell it was tomato soup based unless you tasted carefully and tried to discern the flavour. If you didn't know, I don't think it would be obvious.
This recipe was based on ingredients we had in the freezer. It took a bit of time to prepare. The first stage was making the stock, which was based on a chicken stock:
2 chicken legs
Everything was simmered in a pan of water for about an hour, then the stock was strained and the meat was separated from the bones.
The following day involved making the soup itself. We had 2 bags of vegetables in the freezer which contained onion, leek, potato, carrot and swede. This was added to the stock, along with some more herbs and garlic. The veg were simmered for about an hour then everything was liquidised.
The liquidised soup was very thick so to serve it we diluted it down with water and a teaspoon of powdered stock. We added the shredded meat from the chicken and quail.
This is the perfect time of the year to be cooking with pumpkins - most of the unsold ones left over from Halloween should be available cheap in the shops.
- Pumpkin Mash
Very simple to make - 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced. A quarter of a small pumpkin, peel, remove the seeds and dice the flesh. Boil the potato and pumpkin in salted water until soft, then mash together.
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin, wash and dry them. Toss them in oil with salt, paprika and a little chilli. Spread onto a tray and bake in the oven (gas mark 6 for around half an hour). Leave to cool then eat.
- Roasted Pumpkin
Diced pumpkin can be added to roast vegetables to add variety of texture and flavour.
Add pumpkin to a vegetable soup.
Yesterday while I was in work, suffering from a cold, I had a yearning for a proper chicken soup. I made the soup here this morning and had a cup of it for lunch, with a piece of crusty bread.
- 3 pieces chicken
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 large onions
- 1 pound potatoes (diced)
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- salt and pepper
- a few handfuls of assorted veg
If there is time, roast the chicken pieces beforehand (this will give the stock more flavour). Put the chicken in a pan with the bay leaves, and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour.
When the chicken has cooled, strip the meat from the bones. Chop the meat roughly, and put to one side for later.
Chop the onions and garlic, and fry in a little oil until the onions start to soften. Add the stock (with the bay leaves removed) and the potatoes. Add a few handfuls of vegetables, such as carrots, leeks, peas. Simmer the soup for about half an hour (until the potatoes have gone really soft). Add half the chicken and the herbs. Puree the soup, then add the rest of the chicken. Season to taste.
Among the Christmas presents I received from my parents last year was a hand held blender, which is ideal for making soups. Whenever I find any cheap vegetables, I tend to make a soup with them. The one here is the result of finding packs of Tesco vine tomatoes reduced to 10p because they were going out of date. In the freezer, we've got a pack of leeks which was bought reduced a few weeks ago. I chopped and froze them as soon as I got home.
- 3 Red Onions
- 3 Potatoes
- one pepper (red, green, orange, whatever you've got)
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic
- a few dozen small tomatoes
- a handful of chopped leeks
- chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- mixed herbs
- salt and pepper
Quarter the onions and potatoes, coarsly chop the pepper, toss in olive oil and roast at 200°C for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the tomatoes in half. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the rest of the veg in the roasting tray. After the 40 minutes is over, tip the vegetables into a large pan. Add about a pint of water, the bay leaves, a teaspoon of mixed herbs, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer until everything has started to go mushy and the potatoes are nice and soft. Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup. If it's a bit thick, it can be diluted with a little water or stock.