Recipe - Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup with Basil Oil

Thanks to my Grandad and his amazing gardening skills, we've been growing three different types of tomato this year. He starts them off from seed, and when the plants are strong enough passes them on to pretty much anyone who will take them (we've suggested he just doesn't grow as many - but every year there appears to be more!)

These three plants alone are more than enough for the two of us, and every morning there are a few more perfectly red ripened beauties waiting for us! Last weekend, my Grandparents popped over with two huge butternut squash (which we've been steadily ploughing through all week) some cucumbers and a huge bag of tomatoes! Then on Wednesday, I met a friend for lunch and her husband gave us a bag full to bursting with runner bean, and even more tomatoes.

Now, I'm not complaining in the slightest, but I was slightly fearful that these lovingly grown vegetables might end up going to waste with only two of us to eat them all, so I set about making some soup to make sure they all got used up! I was never a fan of tomato soup until I started making my own, and now it's a firm favourite! I especially like it with some baked sweet potato wedges and a swirl of cream if I'm feeling particularly indulgent.

This recipe is about the simplest thing ever, yet when you serve it up with a drizzle of basil oil and some drops of extra virgin, it looks pleasing professional!

I hope you enjoy - do let me know if you make it!

Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are!

(You'll notice the ingredient quantities are a bit vague - a lot of this is dependent on your taste/consistency preferences) 

Around 900g ripe tomatoes (I used a mixture of varieties) 
2 red onions
4 cloves of garlic
Balsamic Vinegar
Rapeseed Oil
About 300ml vegetable stock (about 300ml)
1 tsp of your choice of sweetener (optional depending on the acidity of the tomatoes)
Salt and Pepper
A handful of basil
Some really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. 

2. Peel the onions and chop them into quarters. 

3. Separate the garlic cloves (but don't worry about peeling off the papery skin) 

4. Chop any large tomatoes into halves or quarters so they all end up roughly the same size. Don't worry too much about this - some of mine were tiny! 

5. Arrange the onions, tomatoes and garlic artfully on a roasting tray, drizzle with rapeseed oil and a little balsamic, and season with salt and pepper. 

5. Roast for 40 minutes to an hour until the tomatoes have collapsed and released their juices and the edges of the onions are starting to caramelise. 

6. Leave to cool on the tray slightly, then remove the garlic cloves and tip the tomatoes, onions and all the juice from the tray into a blender (I use a NutriBullet, but any blender should be fine for this)

7. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and add the flesh to the blender. Blend until completely smooth. 

8. Tip the blended tomatoes into a saucepan, and put on a low heat. Slowly add the vegetable stock until the consistency is just how you want it - for this batch I added around 300ml.

9. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. It might need more salt or pepper, some more balsamic if it's on the sweet side, or if it is too acidic a scant teaspoon of something sweet should even things out. Of course, you could use brown sugar, but I much prefer to use unrefined alternatives such as maple syrup, rice malt or honey. In this case though, I added a tiny pinch of coconut sugar. Taste and use your own palette to get it just the way you like it, then turn the heat right down so the soup stays warm while you make the basil oil.  

10. Rinse out the blender and add a small handful of basil, leaves stalks and all! Add about 2 table spoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil and blend until the basil is fine and the oil has taken on a lovely green colour. 

11. Serve up the hot soup, and top with a drizzle of the basil oil, a few more drops of olive oil and a couple of little basil leaves if you're feeling extra fancy! I ate this with some rye bread soldiers, but it's really good with crusty buttered bread, sweet potatoes wedges, or if you're after a real treat a toasted cheese sandwich! 

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