Today I went out to my local market, a fantastic place just outside the city where I live. Right now the market is booming with local strawberries, new potatoes, fresh herbs, tomatoes, spinach and so much more.
…and chickens wandered around in the shop while I was filling my basket – that’s my kind of place.
I simply love this time of year when the markets are booming with the delicious fresh produce of the season- particularly the deep red sweet tomatoes! They are like candy in themselves and create a little party in your mouth – so intense with flavours!
When I saw them I immediately decided that I wanted to make fresh tomato soup.
This is how I made the tomato soup. I also decided to serve the dish with homemade garlic and goat cheese focaccia bread (so the meal took longer than usual to prepare). But the soup in itself is really easy and fast to make. So if you are short on time, enjoy the soup with a slice of store bought baker bread – or leave the bread out entirely! :-)
Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil
(This makes for 4-5 portions)
1 kg of sun ripe tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic
900 ml good stock – I used chicken, but you can use vegetable or mushroom stock as you prefer
1/2 red pepper
2 big table spoons of tomato paste
olive oil to sauté
freshly ground pepper
one big bunch of fresh Basil
…and a perhaps a little fresh red chill if you like it hot
Here’s how you make it:
Rinse and roughly chop the tomatoes, dice the red pepper, chop the shallots and the garlic.
In a pot, heat the olive oil, put in the shallots, the garlic and the chilli (if you are using chilli) – sauté without browning. Add the tomato paste, allow it to cook a little while stirring. Then add the red pepper and then the chopped tomatoes – sauté while stirring for a few minutes. Add the stock and allow it to simmer till the tomatoes and peppers are soft and tender. Blend the soup with fresh basil and taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
You could add a little bit of cream to round the soup or you can serve it with a bit of sour cream on top. I served this soup “straight” with the garlic and goat cheese focaccia, and it was delicious!
Garlic and Goat Cheese Focaccia
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of dried yeast
600 g of organic wheat flour + extra to work the dough on the table
1 big table spoon of olive oil + extra to drizzle
10- 15 cloves of garlic
In a big bowl dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the wheat flour little by little – half way though, add sea salt and olive oil – make a dough. Leave it to raise for at least and hour covered with a wet tea towel.
Add a little extra flour on to a clean counter top. Carefully fold the dough and with your hands to create the focaccia -like this…
Transfer the bread to a baking tray with baking paper. Then add the fresh garlic cloves, fresh rosemary and drizzle with olive oil – leave to raise for another 1/2- 1 hour before putting it in the hot oven.
Bake in a 375F hot oven for about 20 min – take it out and add goat cheese – put it back in the oven and cook for another 5 min till the goat cheese is melted – then add some freshly chopped rosemary.
Hope you enjoy the soup and the weekend!