Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tomato Fest Soup

The tomato harvest is coming in thick and fast now, even with the lack of sunshine they seem to be ripening well. This year I've grown several varieties; some old, reliable friends and others new and untried, by me anyway. The range of colours, sizes and shapes has provided a very interesting harvest.

This season I've grown cherry tomatoes in the following varieties: Tumbler, Yellow Tumbling Tom and Sun Belle - supposedly a yellow plum tomato but looking far more like an orange cherry variety. I've also grown the ever reliable Shirley and Money Maker varieties of 'standard' tomatoes and Totem, a bush variety. All of these have cropped and ripened well despite the cool, cloudy days of July and August.

The final variety in the greenhouse is Principe Borghese, a plum tomato, grown from seed. This is also cropping well but is slower to ripen, the first fruits are only just beginning to redden whilst the other varieties have been producing fruits for the table and pot for about 3 weeks.

All in all a pretty good year for tomatoes. So having made batches of tomato sauce and passata for the freezer, what to do with this latest colourful bowl? With the weather turning a little chilly how about a creamy tomato soup? Light and fresh in flavour but warm and comforting too...and so pretty to look at...

Dreamy, Creamy Tomato Soup
Serves 4-6
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery stick, chopped
7 ozs carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh thyme, tied in a bundle
1.5 lbs mixed tomatoes, roughly chopped
0.5 tsp sugar
salt and black pepper
7 fl ozs passata
17 fl ozs vegetable stock
3 fl ozs Greek yoghurt mixed with 2 tbsp milk
splash of dry sherry, optional

Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion until soft but not brown.

Add the garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf and thyme and continue to cook gently for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add the passata and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer then cover and cook for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme and blend the soup. Pour the blended soup through a sieve into a clean saucepan then stir in the yoghurt/milk mix and sherry, if using. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.

Pour into bowls and, if desired, top with a teaspoon of tomato salsa and serve with bread rolls.

Note: I'm pleased to say that the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, tomatoes and thyme used in this recipe were grown at Holly Grove and the passata was homemade from Holly Grove produce.

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