Mediterranean Tomato Soup

Mediterranean Tomato Soup

 

This is a thick tomato soup made with plum tomatoes and chopped basil leaves to give it an Italian flavour. The bowls of soup are sprinkled with mozzarella cheese and garnished with extra basil leaves. Just serve with lovely, fresh crusty bread.

 

Mediterranean Tomato Soup
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 450g (1 lb) plum tomatoes (6–8)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • strip of lemon rind
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnishing
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) good vegetable or chicken stock (2½ cups)
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
  • 28g (1 oz) flour (1 tbsp)
  • 85g (3 oz) mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded (¾ cup)

  • To serve
  • fresh crusty bread

  • Equipment
  • a blender or liquidiser


  1. Method
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and, using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds.

  3. Put the tomatoes, onion and carrot into a large pan along with the lemon rind, bay leaf, seasoning and basil.

  4. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

  5. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then liquidise.

  6. In a clean pan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour. Let it cook over a low heat for 2 minutes.

  7. Now, slowly, pour in the liquidised mixture, stirring constantly until blended. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a further 2 minutes.

  8. Divide between four soup bowls and sprinkle the cheese in the centre of the soup. Serve immediately garnished with the reserved basil leaves and crusty bread.

  9. Tip
  10. To make it easier to grate/shred mozzarella cheese, pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes first.

 

Summer Tomato Soup

Summer Tomato Soup

 

With local tomatoes now in abundance, this is an ideal time to make a pot of summer tomato soup. This recipe produces a thin, flavoursome soup with just a hint of basil. Just right for a light lunch with some crusty bread.

 

Summer Tomato Soup
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin oil (¼ cup)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 16 large ripe tomatoes
  • 240ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock (1 cup)
  • handful fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnishing
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Equipment
  • large saucepan (a stock pan works well)


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat.

  3. Add the onion and garlic. Stir to coat with the oil and then reduce the heat and cook gently for 3 minutes.

  4. Quarter the tomatoes and add to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally while also breaking down the tomatoes. A potato masher works really well for this.

  5. Stir in the chicken stock, basil leaves, and seasoning and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes.

  6. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Strain through a sieve, pushing through all the juice from the vegetables.

  7. In a clean pan, reheat the soup and serve garnished with a few basil leaves along with some crusty bread.

 

Quick Minestrone

Quick Minestrone

 

This quick minestrone is made up of a selection of vegetables cooked with cannelloni beans and small pieces of spaghetti. It makes for a satisfying lunch accompanied with crusty rolls.

 

Quick Minestrone
Prepares: 8–10 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20–25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 small carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 x 400g tin (½ x 796ml/28 fl oz can) chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
  • 1.8 litres (3 pints) good chicken stock (7½ cups)
  • 85g (3 oz) spaghetti
  • 400g tin (540ml/19 fl oz can) cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 140g (5 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
  • fresh basil to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Peel the vegetables and dice into small pieces, about 0.5cm (¼ inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, uncovered, over a medium–low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Then stir in the tomatoes and stock, and bring up to a simmer. Break the spaghetti into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Finally, add the beans and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

  5. Serve garnished with basil leaves and accompany with crusty bread or rolls.

Updated May 21, 2017

Country Vegetable Soup

Country Vegetable Soup

 

This is a lovely smooth, thick vegetable soup. It’s quick to make and great for a winter’s day accompanied with soda bread.

 

Country Vegetable Soup
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes (½ × 796ml can diced tomatoes)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) good beef stock (2½ cups)
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • salt and pepper


  • To serve
  • Chopped chives or celery leaves to garnish


  1. Method
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the vegetables and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then purée in a blender.

  5. Pour into a clean saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

  6. Check seasoning and serve garnished with chives or celery leaves.

Updated: May 7, 2017

Farmhouse Vegetable Soup

Farmhouse Vegetable Soup

 

This vegetable soup is full of goodness, blending cauliflower, carrots, celery, and onions. Perfect for a cold winter’s day. Just serve with some crusty bread and a slice of your favourite cheese.

 

Farmhouse Vegetable Soup
Prepares: 6–8 servings
 
  • Preparation time : 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp)
  • 1.2 litres (40 fl oz) homemade stock* (5 cups)
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) natural yogurt (½ cup)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Method
  2. Peel and finely chop the carrots and onions, chop the celery sticks and break the cauliflower into florets.

  3. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook the vegetables over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 10 minutes.

  4. Add the stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

  5. Strain the vegetables, reserving the liquid. Purée the vegetables and return to a clean saucepan. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid and then stir in the yogurt. Reheat gently but do not let it boil.

  6. Tip
  7. * If there is no homemade stock to hand, use a good commercial stock. I always check the ingredients of commercial stock as they can have a lot of sodium in them as well as other additives which I would rather not use – sort of defeats the point of making home-made soup. In the U.K. I tended to go for the organic stock cubes and in Canada I have found 'Better Than Bouillon' to be really good.

Updated: March 8, 2017