Soups, Tomato and Basil

Soupy winter weather leads to a yearning for…eh…soup!

The teen loves soup – all colours, textures and varieties. Here is another point at which we differ. I have an aversion to ‘sameness’ – I have to have variety on my plate so I steer clear of bowls of pasta or soup. Conversely, the teen loves these and would happily live out her days feasting on pasta and eating her soup.

When she was at school, I always encouraged her to bring soup as it is a slow-energy releasing food which helps the learning process. These days, the college going teen tells me it is an important/urgent necessity for her studying process in a ploy to get me to make her soup.

Always making my own, however, I think I spoilt her from an early age. Now she turns her nose up at any shop bought preparations, packets or tins which could make my life a tad bit easier! While some soups take time to make, there are a few firm favourites which can be whipped up quickly. Here is one of the teen’s all-time favourites.

Tomato and Basil Soup

This recipe is a quick and easy way to prepare soup. The vegetables do not have to be cut neatly or precisely as the whole lot gets chucked into a blender before serving. I often throw in some softened tomatoes but always use fresh basil as the dried variety just does not pack the same punch.

1 medium sized onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped (how much you add depends on your own taste preference)
2 carrots, chopped in small pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tins of tomatoes, chopped or about 1lb fresh tomatoes, chopped
1½ pints stock (vegetable)
Handful of fresh, washed, basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil
2. Add the onions and fry until soft
3. Add the garlic and cook
4. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes
5. Add the stock and tomatoes
6. Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes
7. Season with salt and pepper (I leave out the salt if using a shop bought stock)
8. Add sugar to taste (starting with one teaspoonful) as this brings out the taste of the tomatoes
9. Place in a liquidiser. Add the fresh basil leaves and blitz (the teen likes it with a bit of texture and not completely smooth)
10. Return to the saucepan and ensure it is heated thoroughly before serving
11. Serve with crusty bread or if you are studying, a large mug and spoon!

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