Saturday, 29 October 2016

Roasted Tomato Soup

 Oooh some days there are some beautiful tomatoes in the shops and when I saw these ones I just couldn't resist these big fat juicy ones.  Just look at them.  Who could resist?

Now I would recommend that you take the top core out of the tomatoes with a small sharp paring knife because when I made the soup from these tomatoes we found it very stringy.  But then again if you like the the extra fibre by all means leave them in.  Now some people prefer to remove the skin and seeds from the tomatoes but I found that they really added to the soup and when it was really well blended it made quite a meaty soup that warms and leaves you feeling full and satisfied.


1kg Beef Tomatoes
2 Red Peppers
3 Large Onions
1 Head of Garlic
Olive Oil
1/4 litre Vegetable Stock
Few sprigs of Thyme, Oregano, Bay Leaf
1tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Slice the tomatoes in half and place face up on a roasting tray.
  • Crush open the bulb of garlic and separate out the cloves.  Leave the skin on the garlic and pop into the tray.
  • Peel and quarter the onions and squeeze them in between the tomatoes along with chunks of the red pepper.
  • Throw in the sprigs of thyme.
  • Sprinkle with a tsp of sugar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables in the tray.
  • Roast in the oven for 1 hour. 
  • When the tomatoes are soft and just about holding it together, remove them from the oven and pour them into a large pot.  Don't forget all the lovely juices at the bottom of the tray.  It is full of flavour.
  • Squeeze all of the soft gooey insides out of the garlic cloves and add them to the pot.
  • With your thumb nail and forefinger scrape off all the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and add to the soup mixture.
  • Tie together the oregano and bay leaf to enable you to take them out of the pot again with ease. 
  • Pour stock into the pot, pop on the lid and bring to a light simmer.
  • When all of the veg are soft and falling apart easily, make sure that the onions have softened well, remove the bunch of herbs and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
  • Season well and add 1tbs balsamic vinegar just to bring out the full fruity flavour of the tomatoes.
  • Return to the heat for a few more minutes to bring it back up to temperature after using the blender on it.
  • Serve straight away with crusty rolls slathered with a thick layer of butter. Enjoy!!

Sunday Roast Dinner

A Sunday dinner with all of the trimmings.  A simple roast chicken with creamy potato gratin, classic stuffing and honey roast beetroot and parsnips. This ones for you bro.......

A Classic Roast Dinner


1 Organic Free Range Chicken

1/2 Loaf Stale Bread
1 Handful of Sage and Parsley
1 Onion, chopped finely
4 Tbs Butter, melted

Roast Vegetables:
3-4 Fresh Beetroot
4 Parsnips
Runny Honey

Potato Gratin:
8-10 Potatoes, not too waxy but not too floury either!
2 Large Onions, very finely sliced
500ml Fresh Cream
4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
100g Gruyere Cheese, finely grated
Freshly Ground Pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • While waiting for the oven to heat begin to prepare the gratin. 
  • Warm the cream with the garlic to just below boiling point, then take off the heat and let it infuse.
  • Peel and finely slice the onions and potatoes.
  • Butter an oven dish and place a layer of potatoes on the bottom, followed by a layer of onion and a good grating of Gruyere cheese. Repeat these layers until the dish is full, ending with a layer of potatoes.
  • Pour the infused cream over the potatoes and cover with a layer of grated cheese.
  • Place it in the oven 30 mins after the chicken first goes in.
  • Roast for 1- 1&1/2 hours until the potatoes are tender and break up under a fork. If the top looks like it will burn before it is cooked then cover it with some tin foil.
  • Salt the chicken well and place in the oven uncovered. The Chicken will probably take 1 1/2 hours to cook.  Best test to know when it is done is to take two forks and place them between the breast and the leg, if it pulls away easily and the juices are clear then it is cooked.
  • Take the chicken out of the oven and allow to sit for at least half an hour before serving.
  • Clean and chop the beetroot into large chunks and place on a roasting tray and put into the oven when the chicken comes out.
  • Peel and cut the parsnips lengthwise. If possible cut away some of the inner core that runs inside the parsnips as this sometimes can be bitter when roasted.
  • Melt 2 tbs of butter in a frying pan and fry the parsnips until they are nicely browned.
  • Remove the tray of beetroot from the oven and add the parsnips.  Cover in a good layer of runny honey and mix to ensure that everything has a good coating.
  • This will take 30 mins in the oven.  They may take a little longer if the parsnips are quite chunky.
  • Now last but not least, on to the stuffing.  Place the bread into a blender and make into fine breadcrumbs.
  • Very finely chop the onion and sage and add this to the crumbs.
  • Melt the butter and stir well into the breadcrumb mixture.  The mix should be quite sticky, enough to be able to make a ball in the palm of your hand. 
  • Place in a roasting tin and press down with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until crispy on top.
Now sit down and enjoy a nice Sunday roast dinner together