Soup: Roasted tomato

roasted tomato soup

roasted tomato soup © kirsten

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.

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

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

Kitchen items:

  • roasting tray
  • mortar and pestle

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C (on my fan oven, I had it on 150˚C)
  2. 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.

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

  3. 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!

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

  4. Roast the tomatoes for 50 – 60 minutes or until the edges of the tomatoes are blackened. This gives the tomatoes a smoky flavour.

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

  5. 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.
  6. 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.

    olive croutons © kirsten

    olive croutons © kirsten

  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten


Warm goats cheese salad with asparagus

I got this recipe from a course at Cordon Vert and this is one of the very few recipes that I still use with only minor tweaking because Sarah Kearns’ recipe is already perfect!

You will need:

  • 200 g thin asparagus
  • 40 g walnut halves
  • 1 pc medium orange (rind and juice)
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 125 g goat cheese log with rind
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small cos lettuce
  • 100 g wild rocket

What to do-

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. On a baking tray, place the asparagus, walnuts, orange rind, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Roast until the asparagus starts to char in places – about 15 minutes.
  3. Mix and then grind Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds- don’t forget to toast them before grinding! I just use mortar and pestle for this. Mix the spices with honey.
  4. Slice the goats cheese log into 5 circles (you can keep the rind). Place the slices on a tin foil. Drizzle honey mixture over the cheese. Leave to marinate for 1/2 hour and then grill goat cheese until bubbling.
  5. Mix orange juice, tamari, sesame oil and groundnut oil together for the dressing.
  6. In a salad bowl, place the cos leaves and rocket. Put the roasted asparagus and walnuts on top. Add grilled goat cheese to the salad then drizzle dressing.
  7. Enjoy 🙂

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

This is in the oven right now as I start writing this. It’s my first attempt at lasagne. Ever. And the greengrocer seems to have sold me some slightly dodgy spinach, so I can’t really vouch for its quality just yet. Maybe Tuesy can report back after I serve it up.

Here’s what you need to do:

1 Butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper

Peel and halve the squash. De-seed that thing. Chop it into big chunks (1 inch square has to be good enough, I reckon), toss it all in a roasting tin with the olive oil, chopped onion and a tablespoon of water. Season with salt n’ pepper. Roast at about 200 degrees (or considerably less if your oven is a fan-assisted raging furnace like Tuesy’s) for 25 mins. While that’s going on, you can get started on the sauce:

25g butter
25g plain flour
1 pint milk

Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time (you don’t want it to go too lumpy) and then simmer it for about five minutes. It’ll go a bit thick, but not too stodgy.

In the meantime, cook 250g of baby leaf spinach in a few dribbles of water (use a separate pan!). Add salt and pepper.

To finish the sauce, you’ll need:

250g carton of ricotta
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (Tuesy: I did the grating!!)
6 sheets of that
lasagne that doesn’t need pre-cooking (Tuesy: this means, use regular lasagne sheets but you don’t have to pre-cook even if the packet says so. As this is very saucy, the pasta will cook anyway!)
50g of parmesan cheese, grated (we like it cheesy, so we’d go up to 80g for this one. I know, we’re just wild…)

Mix the ricotta into the sauce, add the nutmeg and a bit of salt n’ pepper if you haven’t got enough seasoning already. Here, for atmosphere, is a picture of some nutmeg during the grating process:

Now you get to build your lasagne. In an ovenproof dish, put the squash and onion stuff, nicely roasted by now, in the bottom, add the spinach on top and in between and all over, then about a third of the sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets on top, pour on the rest of the sauce. Finally, sprinkle the cheese on top and still more salt n’ pepper if that’s your thing.

Bake for about half an hour, or until the top part achieves your ideal level of crispy, golden goodness. Mine is nearly ready. Hope it’s good. Tuesy’s getting ready to test out her new food processor with some cup cakes, so there may be a delicious dessert blog to come shortly.

Tuesy: The lasagne Dan made is the best lasagne I have ever had in my flat tee hee… it was the FIRST lasagne I’ve ever had in my flat 🙂 But but but! It was also the best lasagne in the whole world! I absolutely love it!

The picture below is a macro shot of the lasagne. We love a crispy top!

PS. Dan used the Good Housekeeping guide to cookery for this recipe. He got it from his brother for xmas and it has changed his life! And I am grateful, of course 🙂

PPS. Recipe for the delicious dark chocolate cup cake to be published soon!