Creamy Cherry Tomato Soup

 For a long time I had trouble thinking of soup as food, rather than a tasty snack. Kind of like yoghurt, but for winter. For me, food needs to be bitten or have a crunch to really count. So the addition of some toasted garlic bruschettas, with or without cream cheese (I recommend with), convinces my stomach that soup is in fact a meal in itself, and a delicious one at that. Also pretty healthy – lots of vitamins and minerals, particularly if it’s vegetable based – and easy on the wallet. Although I still have some strict soup rules: with the exception of a delicious Caramelised Onion and Pancetta Soup recipe, I only like smooth soups. No bits of food floating in flavoured water. *shudder*. I also don’t like freshly squeezed orange juice that has pulp bits in it, but that’s another story.

Creamy Cherry Tomato Soup
 – an original!

1kg Romanita tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), halved
3 jam tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and grated
4 sprigs rosemary
3-4 tblsp dark brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
1-2 chicken stock cubes
1 cup water
1 cup cream
1 x 70g tin tomato paste
50g butter
serves 4-6 as a main, lots more as a starter

 Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and fry the garlic, onion, chilli and grated carrot on a low/medium heat for about 5 min, till the onions are soft and translucent. Add all the other ingredients except the cream, and simmer (on low heat) for 30min, with the lid on. Uncover and simmer for another 20-30min (you might need to turn the heat up a little to keep it simmering). Take the saucepan off the heat, and let the soup cool a bit. Remove the rosemary stalks, and blend the soup to smooth in the saucepan using a hand blender. And be careful of hot soup splashes! Stir through the cream and check the seasoning. I like all things spicy/hot/tangy or sharp. But if the soup is a little too tangy for your tastebuds, add a bit more water or milk. Maybe a cup? Heat and serve with toasted garlic bruschettas and some fresh basil leaves.

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