I always remember Heinz baked beans on toast and Heinz cream of tomato soup at lunchtimes when I was growing up so now they are a kind of comfort food for me. I love to overcook the beans so they become a little mushy and then pour the beans with their steaming orangey tomato sauce over a couple of slices of buttered toast and then... indulge! Or a tin of tomato soup heated until bubbly and then enjoyed with fresh hunks of bakery bread to dip in. Hardly haute cuisine but it really is comfort food!
I can't always find my Heinz tomato soup here in Saudi and besides I do prefer to make things from scratch these days and avoid all the hydrogenated fats and monosodium glutamate and other nasties that can be lurking in the food in the name of preservation or flavour enhancing.
I have an ill child at the moment who is not eating much but is craving mummy's tomato soup so today was the perfect day for a little soup making and bread baking. :)
Soups are so easy to make and are often overlooked despite all the nutritional benefit that can be found in them. Tomato soup of course would be a wonderful thing to make in Algeria right now with the fields overflowing with ruby red tomatoes bursting with flavour and the price is low.
The ingredients for a small batch of soup to serve 2 people:
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bayleaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (if you have fresh, it would be better chopped finely and added at the end of cooking)
- 6 medium tomatoes
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- splash of Worcestershire sauce
- salt as required
- generous pinch of sugar
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- water - I used very little since tomatoes contain a high percentage of water... I think 500ml is enough but check the consistency and add to your preference
1. Chop the onion and garlic and saute in a tablespoon of olive oil along with the bayleaf and dry basil.
2. Meanwhile place the tomatoes into a pan of almost boiling water and leave for a couple of minutes. Drain the water and pluge the tomatoes into cold water. Remove the skins, deseed the tomatoes and then chop roughly.
3. When the onions have started to soften and become translucent add the tomatoes and salt. Leave on a low to medium heat, stirring every so often until the liquid from the tomatoes has almost dried up and then add the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, sugar and a little water to make the mixture look soupy. Leave to simmer so all the flavours blend together.
4. Allow to cool a little before blitzing in the blender or liquidiser and return to a gentle heat. Taste to see if it needs a little more sugar to remove acidity or salt to season.
5. Just before serving pour in a little cream and swirl around. You can also sprinkle over a little freshly shaved Permesan just before serving and some chopped, fresh basil.