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


Spiced Tuna Steak

This weekend, since Tuesy needed cheering up I thought I’d be extra-organised and prepare a couple of seafood dishes. Since she doesn’t eat meat but will happily indulge in piscicide, tuna is an excellent middle ground between veggie and carnivore. I’ll save the other recipe, which I think was even better, for another day. I need to pace myself…

Get yourself some big, thick tuna steaks. As much as you can eat/afford. You’re going to marinade them. To make the marinade, mix the following:
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger. You might want a bit more if you’re a ginger fan.
1 peeled, crushed garlic clove
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder. Again, if you like at spicy, double this. It’s quite safe.
Salt and pepper as desired.

Mix this lot up, and smear it all over your tuna steaks, which you’ve already patted dry with kitchen roll, right? Leave this to marinate for a couple of hours.
(A quick aside. I’m listening to the US Open tennis semi-final. Andy Murray might be about to beat Nadal. Please, please, please…)
OK, here’s the master-stroke. You’re going to make some raita. This is easy, and it’s delicious. You need about 150g greek yoghurt (standard-sized tub), which you mix with some chopped mint and about 50g of chopped cucumber. Chop it fine. Mix this up and it will be a great taste to dollop on your spicy tuna and offset its kick.

Grab your favourite frying pan or griddle. Heat a little oil. Heat it a lot. Cook the tuna steaks for a couple of minutes and then turn and cook for a little more. I like mine scorched on the outside and still pink in the middle. Tuesy likes hers well done. The choice is yours, but the marinade will blacken it a little if you fry it for a long time. That’s still delicious, though.
Serve your tuna with the raita and a green salad. I made it this time with boiled potatoes and broccoli because we were really hungry, but the salad really prioritises the fleshy goodness of your steak. If you cooked it, bask in the appreciation. If it was served to you, feel lucky.
(Murray might be throwing the match away in the time it took me to write this. Dammit. But there’s still a chance…)

Bean Fajitas

This is a delicious dish whether you’re a vegetarian or not. Obviously, you can put chicken or beef into fajitas if you prefer, but since the best bits are the spicy tomato, guacamole and sour cream, you may as well save that meaty goodness for something where you can really taste it. But I have to be honest, although this stuff is delicious, it really doesn’t photograph well, which is why I don’t have a mouth-watering image of the finished product to tempt you with. the above picture is not a full body shot, just a detail, but it gives you an idea. Just go with it and remember that even ugly messy food needs love sometimes.
Heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil in a big pan. Fry a sliced, medium sized onion for 5 mins. While that’s going on you can chop two garlic cloves, or crush them. You will need:
Half tsp hot chilli powder (I also like to throw in some freshly chopped chillis to make it extra spicy. It’s your call, though. This time, I also chucked in some red peppers that needed eating)
1tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Add these to the onion with the garlic and fry for a couple more minutes. Then add:
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g can chopped tomatoes
Quarter pint of hot vegetable stock
Lots of beans. These should ideally consist of 220g tin of red kidney beans, 300g tin of borlotti beans, 300g tin flageolet beans. All these should be drained and rinsed. Actually, it’s just as good if you use red kidney beans and make up the rest with chickpeas. Still delicious.
Season all this with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, you can either:
b) Open a tub of shop-bought guacamole and spend the next 15 minutes getting in some quality time with your brand new Nintendo Wii.
You should also warm up a bunch of flour tortillas in the oven or microwave. Then, when the beans and sauce are ready, spread some down the middle of each tortilla, then dollop on some sour cream and guacamole according to your taste. Fold at one side and then fold in two other sides to form a fajita-shaped parcel. If yours are anything like mine, your fajita filling will dribble out all over the place and mess up your shirt, so take care. Grated cheddar cheese will also make your fajitas extra tasty if you can stand any more deliciousness. Serve with cold lager, preferably in a bottle with a slice of lime jammed down its neck.