I used to hate tomato soup. I mean really loath it. I think it was a result of having the tinned stuff forced on me in a friends house when I was younger… Shudder. So sickly sweet and salty at the same time- it turned my stomach. I’ve thankfully grown to love the stuff though after trying so many beautiful homemade ones over the last few years.
I was browsing the Temple Bar market last week and couldn’t but notice the most incredible juicy tomatoes of all different shapes and colours. I’ve probably mentioned the McNally Organic Farm stall before but wow, their produce is incredible. I bought as many as I could carry and starting thinking of all kinds of tomato based foods I could. The weather was pretty rotten so I decided the first thing I would make would be tomato soup. No joke this is absolutely incredible. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their rich natural sweetness, and the garlic and basil give it a big kick of flavour. Make this immediately and it will be on your recipe rotation all Autumn and Winter!
1.5kg tomatoes (if you can’t get fancy ones like above at least get vine tomatoes from your supermarket- the flavour is much stronger)
2 celery sticks
6 garlic cloves
1 large bunch fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
Chop up your tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. Throw into an oven preheated to 180C for 30 – 40 minutes, check them every 5 minutes and stir.
About half way through you will notice that all the juice will have run out of the tomatoes. Pour this juice out into a jug for later (this will be your stock) and continue roasting your tomatoes. Once the juice is removed they can wilt down and sweeten.
Peel your garlic and finely chop it. Finely dice your onion and celery and grate your carrot.
In a big soup pot fry your garlic on medium heat in a generous glug of olive oil. After a minute add the onion, watch the heat and make sure they don’t burn. Then after a few minutes add in the carrot and celery. Stir it around and let it cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add in the roasted tomatoes and pour the hot tomato juice over the top. Chop up your basil and throw it in.
With a hand blender blitz the soup until totally smooth, at this point it will be really thick like passata so just add enough boiling water to reach your desired consistency. I like mine a little thick so I didn’t add too much water in. You don’t need stock cubes, if your tomatoes are nice then just use the water as the stock cubes will distract from the beautiful natural sweetness of the roast tomatoes.
This is a really, really easy salad. It’s just a ‘throw-everything-together’ kind of a recipe. Just a bit of chopping and massaging… Yes massaging. To be honest though, most nights during the week I tend to eat really easy dishes like this as it’s hard to find time to cook something complicated from scratch after a long day at work.
I bought most of the ingredients at the Temple Bar Farmer’s Market last weekend. The beautiful black kale and fresh beetroot are from McNally’s organic farm, the delicious apple balsamic vinegar is from Llewellyns Orchard, the Irish buffalo mozzarella is from Toonsbridge Dairy (if you follow this blog you’ll see I use it ALL the time, that’s because it is the ambrosia of the Gods). I also got some macadamia nut oil from my local health food shop, The Hopsack (which is a real gem by the way), to massage the kale. Kale has a gorgeous texture and there’s no need to cook it if you massage it with a little oil. This softens it a little and you’ll visibly notice the colour become more vivid , I think it vastly improves the texture and flavour. You can use whatever oil you like but macadamia is packed with healthy fats and had a beautiful, subtle, nutty taste that’s perfect for salad dressings.
All in all this is a very easy, healthy and delicious salad, so get to it and whip it up!
1 bunch kale
1 large raw beetroot (okay I suppose you can use the cooked prepackaged ones if you must)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
Macadamia oil (or other mild tasting oil like rapeseed)
Rinse the kale. Remove the stalks/ribs of the kale (you can’t eat these, or at least without difficulty) and slice the kale into fine ribbons. In a bowl massage a tablespoon of oil into the kale leaves for about a minute.
Wash the beetroot well and remove the roots. Slice finely on a mandolin and mix into your bowl of kale.
Tear up your mozzarella and scatter on top. Drizzle with balsamic oil.
Roughly chop your pistachios and scatter on top of the salad.