Home-style Tomato Soup

tomatoes

Serves 2 for a main course/lunch or 4 as a starter

Simple to prepare and soft to eat, this is great for anyone who loves tomato soup. Doesn’t everyone?

You’ll see there is a lot of black pepper in this recipe. I think tomato soup and black pepper is a match made in heaven but ease back on the pepper if you’re not such a fan.

For a vegetarian version, just replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large celery stick, trimmed and finely chopped
500g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons sugar
500ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
500ml milk

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables are softening and starting to colour. Add the fresh and tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, stock, thyme, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently until everything is very soft, approx. 30 minutes.

Let the mixture cool slightly then blend until smooth with a stick blender or in a food processor. Press through a sieve to remove the tomato skins and pips. Wipe out the saucepan and return the sieved soup to it. Stir in the milk and bring to the gentlest of simmers. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Roasted Vegetables

courgettes

Serves 2

These roasted vegetables are simply delicious! Serve them on their own or with just about any protein or with rice or potatoes or whatever. They are also great with pasta, in a lasagne or in a quiche or omelette.

This dish is vegetarian and vegan.

Cut all of the vegetables into large pieces about the size of a man’s index finger.

3 large mixed sweet peppers, various colours, deseeded and cut into fingers
3 medium courgettes, cut into fingers
2 large red onions, peeled and cut into fingers
1 ½ tablespoons tomato puree, slackened in a little cold water
A very large bunch of flat leaf parsley, coarse stems removed, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp salt
2 to 3 tsp ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Place all of the ingredients in a roasting tin, mix well and roast until soft and slightly coloured. This will take between 45 minutes and 1 hour depending on the heat of your oven and the size of your roasting tin. Stir the vegetables a couple of times during the cooking period.

Beef Casserole in a Slow Cooker

beef-cubed-lr

Serves 4

This is an excellent and simple beef casserole. It doesn’t need anything to go with it because of the large amounts of vegetables in it. However, it throws off a lot of sauce so if mashed potatoes are your thing, go for it!

8 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
8 celery sticks, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg stewing beef (shin beef, braising steak, knuckle etc.) cubed
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
250ml red wine
500ml beef stock (I use an Oxo cube)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
A generous pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp Marmite
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Several sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)

Place the carrots and celery in the bowl of your slow cooker.

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and brown the beef in batches, removing each batch to a bowl once browned. Next sauté the onions until soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook, stirring. If it starts to catch, add a splash of stock. Continue to stir adding the wine splash by splash, then pour in the stock and cook uncovered until the mixture has thickened and reduced. This is important to get rid of the alcohol.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and the beef, bring the mixture to a simmer, then pour it over the carrots and celery in the slow cooker bowl. Give everything a good stir, cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours.