Tomato and Basil Soup

Despite the recent decent weather being a much-needed respite from the storms of late (SUN! Oh i’ve missed you!), the last couple of days have reminded me that it’s still a little chilly in the air, and it is, in fact, only March. I’m still feeling the need for warming food like humble soup. Bar scorching summer heat, not much will stop me consuming a decent one for lunch or a light dinner.

This tomato and basil soup is a family favourite of ours, and big hit with the kids as they like to dunk cut-up toastie shapes in it. Us grown-ups prefer a quality ciabatta. This recipe is based on one by James Martin.

You will need:

2kg of ripe vine tomatoes
3 crushed garlic cloves
handful of fresh basil leaves
4 tbsp olive oil, plus more to serve
1tbsp tomato puree
1 litre of hot vegetable stock
salt and pepper (omit if serving to small people)
2-3 tbsp caster sugar, to taste
150ml double cream


1.Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium to high heat.
When the pan is hot, add the tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes, or
until they have started to break down to a bit of a mush.
2. Add the garlic, basil, tomato purée and two tablespoons of olive oil.
Continue to cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce
the heat until the mixture is simmering. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4. Transfer the soup mixture to a food processor and blend to a purée.
5. Return the blended soup to the pan and season, to taste, with salt,
freshly ground black pepper and sugar.
6. Pour in the cream and return the mixture to a simmer. Continue to
simmer for a further 1-2 minutes.
7.Meanwhile, brush the ciabatta slices with the remaining two
tablespoons of olive oil.
8. Heat a griddle pan until hot, add the ciabatta slices, in batches if
necessary, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden
brown griddle marks appear on both sides of the ciabatta.
9. To serve, ladle the soup into four serving bowls. Drizzle a swirl of
double cream into each bowl, then a swirl of olive oil, to garnish.
Sprinkle over a few basil leaves.



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