Tomato Soup Two-Ways

It’s been all pumpkins, cobwebs, candles and autmunal pickings from the garden this week. As usual, we were overly ambitious with our jack-o-lantern designs this year and we spent most of Sunday afternoon carving pumpkins, listening to Jonny Trunk’s 50p vintage Halloween tunes and drinking lemon drop cocktails. I love this time of year. It was tempting to re-post my Hazelnut-crusted pumpkin pie recipe, but instead, I thought I’d share a couple of robust yet simple tomato soup recipes to warm the cockles as the October heat-wave finally gives way to more appropriate lower temperatures. The first is a roasted tomato soup. Roasted because even if the tomatoes aren’t in season, or at their peak, you can put them in the oven for an hour or so and greatly improve their flavour for a more hearty soup.

By adding a little cream you can reduce the unwelcome acidity and fruitiness that often comes with tomatos. However, if you’re trying to watch the calories, use evaporated milk instead – my secret slimming weapon. For the spiced tomato soup, the addition of cashews adds a natural creaminess.  Serve your soup with a crusty bread roll or some gently heated naan bread (which you can get from Gorden Stores). If you’re feeling especially decadent, throw in some diced paneer cheese to the spiced Indian tomato soup recipe, but you’ll need to fry it off first in a separate pan, and add it after you’ve blended the soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients (serves 4 for lunch)
Enough tomatoes to fill a small baking tray, try for a variety of styles
1 x onion, diced
1 x celery stick, diced
1 x carrot, diced
3 garlic cloves
1-2 tsp sugar
Vegetable or chicken stock pod
1/2 cup of cream or evaporated milk
Handful of chives and parsley

Halve the tomatoes and peel garlic, tossing in a bit of olive oil and season well. Roast for 30-50 minutes on 180C
While they’re roasting, saute off the onion, celery and carrots. Take off the heat until it’s time to throw in the roasted tomatoes and sugar.
After a final saute over good heat, add the water, stock and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Use a blender or stick blender to smooth out the texture.
Finally, add some cream, the herbs and season to taste.

Spiced Indian Tomato Soup (serves 2-3 for lunch)

4-5 ripe plum tomatoes (or a tin of crushed tomatoes)
1 tsp ginger & garlic paste
1 tsp tomato puree (paste)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 inch of ginger, sliced
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 bay leaf
3-4 cardamom pods
vegetable stock pod
drizzle of cream

Saute the ginger/garlic paste in a tbsp of butter, and then add the tomatoes
Add the rest of the ingredients and saute for a minute or so.
Add water and vegetable stock cube and simmer for about half an hour.
Fish out the bay leaf and cardamom before you blitz the soup with a stick blender.
Drizzle in some cream if you like it creamy or to soften the flavour if it’s too strong and season to taste, throwing in some fresh coriander for colour.