Tag Archives: soup

Tomato and Bread Soup Recipe

Who doesn’t love a ripe tomato? Unfortunately those that you buy in a supermarket, with some exceptions, are just NOT nice AT ALL. This recipe should ONLY be made with the ripest of tomatoes. And in this case, not even tinned tomatoes will do.
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Tomato and Bread Soup

Handful of fresh basil
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled
25g Parmesan with rind
3 slices thick day-old or stale country-style bread with crusts, torn into 1-inch pieces
75ml olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt, freshly ground pepper
1.5kg ripe tomatoes, cut into large pieces
Pluck basil leaves from stems. Place stems and any larger or not-so-beautiful leaves in a large saucepan along with 2 or 3 larger garlic cloves; cover with 3 cups water. Set aside remaining smaller, prettier basil leaves. Cut Parmesan away from rind and add rind to pan; set cheese aside. Bring liquid to a bare simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat so mixture is steaming. Let ingredients steep while you start the soup. This step may seem like a lot of faff.  But is totally worth it.

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Preheat oven to 200°C. Spread out 1 cup bread on a small rimmed baking sheet, drizzle lightly with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Toast until edges are crisp but centres are still chewy, 8–10 minutes; set croutons aside.
Meanwhile, slice remaining garlic cloves. Heat ⅓ cup oil in a medium pot over medium and cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until evenly golden brown and softened, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes to pot and cook, stirring energetically with a wooden spoon now and then, until tomato juices are bubbling, 6–8 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, then add remaining 3 cups bread.

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Stir to coat, then strain basil stock into tomato mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, until bread disintegrates into a porridgelike texture and soup is velvety and thick, 10–12 minutes. (The whisk helps break the bread into smaller pieces; if you like your soup rustic, stick with the spoon. If you want it to be very smooth, use an immersion blender.)
Finely grate reserved Parmesan and whisk half into soup along with reserved basil. Cook, stirring, until soup is thickened and looks shiny, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
Divide soup among bowls and top with reserved croutons, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil. Divine!

Tomato and Bread Soup

Tomato and Bread Soup


Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup


Butternut squash is so common in the supermarkets these days and is a great standby for roasting for dinner, or in this case roasting for soup. Similar to a pumpkin, it becomes sweeter and richer the darker the orange.  And although like the tomato, it’s technically a fruit, it is a good source of fibre, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium, and a really good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup


2 tablespoons of olive oil

25g butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 stick of celery, washed and sliced

600g carrots, peeled/ scrubbed and chopped

½ butternut squash, peeled and chopped

2 pints homemade chicken stock or water

salt, freshly ground pepper

Garnish pesto or toasted walnuts


Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Add the oil to a roasting tray and toss the chopped carrot and butternut squash in it.  Roast for 30 minutes until starting to colour.



Melt the butter and sweat the onion and celery for 10 minutes with a lid on. Then add the carrots and squash.  Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chicken stock and return to a simmer.  Season well with salt, pepper and sugar.  Bring to the boil with the lid off and cook for approx. 5 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.

Liquidise and add more stock for a thinner consistency.  Serve hot with a blob of pesto or the toasted walnuts.

If this soup is made ahead, reheat uncovered and serve immediately. It will lose its fresh taste and bright lively colour if it sits at length in a pot.



Tomato Soup- perfect Autumn comfort

We have lots of tomatoes, which is great, and I’ve frozen lots, so the time had come to make Tomato soup.  I find it’s a bit more fiddly than some other soups.  This is really only due to the fact that you have to sieve it, so the seeds are removed at the end.


Freshly picked off the vine

I use Tom Kerridge’s recipe for posh tomato soup, and even though it’s not a one pot wonder, the result is wellbeing in a mug.  But there are a myriad of recipes, some easier than others. Another recipe that is very simple and tasty, is a roasted tomato soup.Which simply roasts halved tomatoes with some garlic and onion, then this gets blitzed when the tomatoes are turning mushy.  This is also good as a tomato base for homemade pizza.

Tomatoes are easy to grow.  Any place in the sun will nuture a cherry tomato plant.  We are very lucky to have a small greenhouse attached to my father in laws garage.  The horses provide the manure, the eldest provides the manual labour.

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

The buzzword for tomatoes at the moment is Heirloom.  With a lower yield than commercially produced seeds, they are not commercially viable but we find less prone to disease.  They do taste good, amazing in fact.  Thankfully genetic modification of tomatoes wasn’t a runner, so we have escaped that catastrophe, their molecular make up is to complex to modify.

A tomato can take up to sixty days to ripen, once the green chlorophyll degrades in the sun, the red colour  indicates the acidity decreasing, and the full flavour develops.  Once a fully ripened tomato is picked, its flavour deteriorates quickly. There are more than four hundred compounds, aromatic as well as flavourful, in the fruit. They all act in concert to let you know you are eating a tomato rather than a turnip.

Oh, and yes, it IS a fruit….

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These are a few of my favourite things…

Today we watched (hungrily) as Rachel demo’d how to cook Roast Chicken.  And it got me thinking. What Is my favourite food? Roast chicken would be up there for a number of reasons.  Firstly it is something that you would rarely get in a restaurant, therefore is going to be part of a home cooked meal.  Also it’s a classic, and best with all the trimmings.  I couldn’t really say what my absolute favourite food of all time is, but if I had to chose a last meal, some really good chips and chocolate fondant with cream would be on the menu ( not on the same course obviously) So you see even on my last meal I wouldn’t be able to choose just one thing.

To be honest, the frittata, and French omelette I made today wouldn’t make the top 20, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed them.  Mushroom soup (lots of knife work on the mushrooms) was VERY tasty, and would be in the top 3 of soup favourites.  The number one spot there goes to my mum in laws roasted red pepper soup, of which I wish I could have one more bowl.

Mushroom Frittata, with a rocket and tomato garnish

Mushroom Frittata, with a rocket and tomato garnish

Mushroom soup and my Brown Bread

Mushroom soup and my Brown Bread

Favourite Flowers?

At this time of year, snowdrops and daffodils.

Favourite City?

London, or maybe New York, or wait… Rome?

Favourite Poem?

This is a hard one, the Robert Frost poem I wrote about recently, is my all time favourite poem, but this poem is right up there,

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

W. B. Yeats, 1865 – 1939
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

And a hard one- Favourite song?

Couldn’t possibly say.  Depends on my mood, and what’s playing on the radio.  But Raspberry Beret (Prince), Don’t want to close my eyes (Aerosmith), Wuthering Heights (Albert Niland), Birds of the High Arctic (David Gray), Let it Go (Idina Menzel), A Thousand Years (Christina Perri), Just give me a reason (Pink), Layla  acoustic version (Eric Clapton), Roxanne (Sting)… actually the list is endless. And yes, any song by Robbie Williams is also included!  Oh and anything by Queen, especially those written  for soundtracks.

Favourite TV series?

Currently Banshee, and Grey’s Anatomy- but over the years- Sapphire and Steel (really showing my age!), Hart to Hart, Star Trek- all except DS9, and my favourite- new generation), and MacGyver of course!

Favourite Film?

Actually I think we’ll have to leave it here, as really as anyone who knows me will attest, there are too many to mention, but up there will be…

The Shawshank Redemption



Con Air ( I know, I know…)

Pretty Women


Independence Day

but the one that’s absolutely guaranteed to have me in tears… Toy Story 3!!!