It hasn’t really dropped below 10˚C but I might as well recognise that it is already winter– especially if this means we get winter out of the way now and we have spring to look forward to 🙂
Winter means time to open the recipe book for nice warming soups. I looked at my Delia’s Vegetarian Collection book which has some really good and easy to follow recipes. I have to warn you, thought, that some of the recipes in that book are quite high in fat so choose well.
I chose this soup because I love the taste of roasted tomatoes. I am lucky I live just a minute walk from Cardiff Market which has a history of trading since the 1800s! Two kilos of medium-sized ripe tomatoes are only a little over £1 – bargain! Buy from your local market, if you can.
(An aside – this reminds me of the Sundays when my Nanay (mother) used to take me to the palengke. We would walk the Pulilan bridge to go to the market. Our first stop was a vegetable stall where we were suki (favourite customer) so we got our veggies at a special discounted rate. If my Nanay planned to buy meat for that week, she usually asks the veggie vendor to look after me as I hated (still do!) going to the butcher.)
Right on to the recipe. Dan said it’s the best home-made soup he has ever tasted but maybe he is a bit biased 😉
You will need:
700 g medium red tomatoes
20 g/bunch of basil leaves
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 big clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
110 g potato
1 tsp tomato purée
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
For olive croutons:
4 medium slices of ciabatta bread, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp olive tapenade or paste
mortar and pestle
What to do:
Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C (on my fan oven, I had it on 150˚C)
Skin the tomatoes – you do this by pouring boiling water on the tomatoes and leaving it for 1 minute. After that it’s easy to skin the tomatoes.
Half the tomatoes, put them on the roasting tray (cut side uppermost) and then generously season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each tomatoes with olive oil, the chopped garlic, and then top each one with basil leaves. Coat the basil leaves with oil first!
Peel and chop the potato into little cubes then put it in a saucepan with some salt, 425 ml boiling water, tomato purée and simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Ok the croutons– you can buy ready made croutons but this is so yummy that it’s worth giving it a go. In a bowl, place the bread cubes, olive oil, and olive tapenade/paste. Toss them so that the bread cubes get a good coating. Put the bread cubes in a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes – make sure you don’t forget to check on them as they burn easily. Leave to cool when done.
When done, remove tomatoes and scrape everything to a food processor (juices and all the crusty bits!) and also add everything in the potato saucepan. Whiz lightly so it’s not so uniformly puréed.
For the basil purée, use the rest of the basil and put them into a mortar. Put about 1/4 tsp of salt and then bash them with the pestle until the leaves collapse and turn into a purée. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and stir.
Gently heat the soup in medium heat before serving. Garnish each bowl with croutons and a swirl of basil purée.
I also made parmesan and parsnip bread but I think that will be on the next post! But here’s the yummy preview!
Last weekend’s cheer-up-Tuesy charm offensive delivered its grand finale on Sunday evening. Stop me if I sound too boastful, but I was very happy with how this turned out – for an amateur cook, it’s always exciting when a recipe really works, and there are few cooks more amateur than me…
Prepare your fish-cake mixture 2-3 hours before you plan to cook them (they take a little under half an hour to bake). To make enough fish-cakes for four people you will need:
900g maris piper potatoes
900f salmon fillets
Juice of 1 lemon
pinch of cayenne pepper
large pinch of chilli powder (more if you like spiciness)
2 tbsp of chopped herbs (I used flat flat-leaf parsley, but tarragon or basil will work just as well
2 tbsp chilli oil.
Peel the potatoes, chop them into quarters and boil them. Once boiled to softness, drain away the water, and return to heat for a couple of minutes to dry them out. Then mash ’em. With a masher.
While the spuds are boiling, put your salmon and half the lemon juice into a pan with a pint of cold water. Bring it just to the boil and leave to stand in the water for a few minutes. It’ll cook just enough in the remaining heat. Then drain the salmon, peel off the skin and flake it. It’s good not to mash it up too much – the fish-cakes are delicious if you can still feel the “meatiness” of the fish (you don’t want them to be too smooth).
Mix the salmon with the mashed potatoes and add the spices and herbs, the lemon juice and the mayonnaise. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Now make your fish-cakes on a non-stick baking tray. I lined my tray with non-stick baking paper, which worked a treat. If you’re good with your hands, you can pat the mixture into eight thick cakes (maybe 2cm deep). If you have a large round biscuit/cookie cutter, you can use that to get them into a nice shape. I used a non-stick heart-shaped fried egg shaper, meaning that my cakes looked like this:
Not too shabby. Put your tray of fish-cakes in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will firm them up ready to be baked. Once they’re ready, drizzle the chilli oil on top and bake at 200 degrees centigrade or until they go brown and a bit crispy on the outside. I served these with mangetout and baby corn and a little rocket. You can serve them with whatever you like. Nobody’s checking.