Sunday, 7 April 2013

Soft toys and soup

I have a confession to make. 
I still have a teddy bear.
I did use to take him to bed with me every night (I couldn't afford a burmese so…he was my pet!)
When I met my amazing husband to be, I discovered he also had a shameful teddy secret too...!
So, like two old friends tentatively introducing their children to each other in the hope of a life long friendship borne of the parents love for one another, Freddy-Teddy and Rambo-Ginge were placed side by side on our newly shared bed.
Things didn't quite work out as we expected lets say…. 

Naughty teddies!!!
It turns out that both Henry and I's teddies had neglected to tell us their sexual orientation… 

We are all one big happy family, and when the teddies aren't ravaging each other all over the house, they like to join in with the cooking!
Today I will share with you their favourite recipe: Tomato soup!
Sometimes there is nothing you need more than the big cuddle that comes from a big steaming bowl of Heinz's finest! 
A commute through the snow, a bout of the flu, being told the family pet has died….. You get the idea, its the ultimate comfort food for me, and who better to cook it than a pair of comforters?
Pick your tomatoes well, they are the main flavour obvs, so generic salad tomatoes will just not cut the mustard! I prefer an allotment glut, but being in short supply in London I will settle for whichever good quality tomatoes I have managed to get my hands on- markets, veg delivery boxes, Tesco finest, etc. 

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place them cut side up on a baking tray. Season with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt, then chuck over about 2tbsp of good olive oil and 1tbsp of sugar. Pop this in the oven on 180C for about an hour until the tomatoes have turned into a ready to squidge mulch :)

Oh, thats smelly lion by the way….
 So, when these are done its time to get some onions sweating off. Roughly chop 1 onion, 1 carrot and a couple of garlic cloves and add to a big pan with 2tbsp of olive oil- a low heat is a must: Never get olive oil too hot. Fry until glistening and translucent then add some chopped basil stalks(about 8ish?)- save the leaves for later! 
Now tip in the tray of your squidgy tomatoes, stir and add 600ml of good chicken or veg stock (I use the knorr stock pots generally) Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer before leaving to bubble gently for 25 minutes.
Almost ready! Now add a generous Tbsp of balsamic vinegar for some depth and 2Tbsp of creme fraiche for a  healthy creamy taste. Pop in a blender for a few minutes until smooth, then serve with the previously saved basil leaves torn over the top! Oh and my favourite, a cheese sandwich….. Beautiful!

Now, if you are not lucky enough to have a few helpful teddies around to create culinary masterpieces for you then I suggest cooking in big batches and freezing. We all know that the time you most crave this dish will be the time you can be least arsed to make it, so make sure you keep a healthy stash!
This has a similar enough taste to Heinzs favourite to fool the best of people, yet you can tune it with a little more garlic or basil etc to match it to you're own personal taste. The best thing about this dish in comparison though is that a bowl will deliver half of the carb and calorie content of its tinned compadres, as well as all of the goodness from the fresh tomatoes- lycopene, vitamin A and C.
I hope you enjoy eating this as much as the teddies enjoy cooking it!! 

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