It's wonderful, on a chilly afternoon, to tuck into a huge steaming bowl of thick and creamy soup.
Whilst on holiday last week, we stopped by for lunch at a beachside cafe and they served up this lovely, rich, tangy tomato and carrot soup, laced with cream and topped with a sprinkling of basil. It was a sunny afternoon, but there was a touch of autumn chill in the air that made us keep our jackets on, and this soup really warmed us up on the inside.
MDH liked it so much that I decided to try making it at home yesterday.
So I got together a pound and a half of tomatoes, two carrots, an onion, a potato and a clove of garlic. After finely chopping up all the root veggies and crushing the garlic, I heated some olive oil in a pan and began softening the onion in the oil, sprinkling it with half a teaspoon of sugar.
After the onions had been caramelising for about five minutes, I added the chopped carrot and potatoes and covered the pan, cooking it over a low heat for ten minutes without browning the veggies.
Then I stirred in the garlic and tomatoes, added 1 teaspoon of tomato puree, about half a pint of chicken stock, and a pinch of basil and oregano. Oh yes, and just some lemon juice to give it a bit of kick. I let them all simmer for about 45 minutes, making sure that there was enough liquid in the pot (I've had the unfortunate incident of burning soup in the past!).
When the vegetables were all sufficiently tender, I brought out my handheld blender and whizzed it through the pot until it was all smooth, and then seasoned it with loads of pepper and a teensy amount of salt. Before I got the blender, I used to press all my soups through a sieve to take out all the pips and bits of skin, but it was such a hassle.
I love making soups. It's so easy and it freezes well, which means that I can make huge batches of it in advance. I am anticipating a long week of heavy shifts at work, and MDH is working 3 weeks in a row with no weekend breaks, so neither of us are going to be in a fit state to cook.
And when MDH tramps through the door, shivering with cold, I like to watch his eyes light up when I bring him a hot bowl of flavoursome soup.