Saturday, September 13, 2014

tomato fest

About a month ago a violent rain and hail storm devastated our tomato crop.  (It also flooded Warb's studio and reduced the drawings on the floor (lesson learned...!) to slush but that's another story.)

However, as you can see from the photos there is no shortage of tomatoes in my kitchen! A friend of a friend who doesn't know when to stop sowing seed came to the rescue and I was given about 30 kilos of gorgeous tomatoes. I've made jars of passata, tomato sauce, tomato chilli jam and tomato and beetroot soup.

We made this soup for a big Tower do a few weeks ago - enough for 40 people - and someone asked me for the recipe. It was improvised on the day so I made it again yesterday and took note of quantities this time.  There is only a small amount of beetroot but you can taste it and it makes the most beautiful colour.

Tomato and Beetroot soup with Mascarpone cheese

2 kilos of the best, ripest tomatoes you can find.
A large onion
Two tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon stock powder (I use Rapunzel or Marigold, use 2 if using Marigold)
1 apple sized beetroot
125g Mascarpone cheese
3 or 4 sprigs of oregano

Start by cooking your beetroot. I do this in the oven. Loosely wrap the beetroot in foil and pop in the oven at 180º for an hour or so until soft.

Soften the onion in the olive oil in a large soup pot. Don't allow to brown.

Add the chopped up tomatoes and the leaves from a few sprigs of oregano. I sieved the soup at the end but if you don't want to do that you'd better peel the tomatoes by dunking in boiling then cold water and slipping the skins off.

 Add the stock and bring to the boil. My tomatoes were very juicy so I mixed the teaspoon of stock into just 250ml of water. You might need to adjust that if your tomatoes aren't so juicy.

Simmer for about 40 minutes. Slip the skin off the cooked beetroot, chop roughly and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper, add the mascarpone and blend until smooth.

Sieve or not. Check seasoning. Serve with a blob of crème fraiche on top. This foccacia is perfect with it.

Tastes of summer!

ps. At the brocante the other day I came across a cast iron radiator with an integral cupboard. Turns out it's for warming plates!

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