- Food & Drink
When I moved back to London, Leonard and The Enigmatic Mr S very kindly let me move into their spare room while I looked for somewhere to live. This was on the understanding that I’d earn my keep by cooking them amazing meals and thus saving them from Veg Box Juice.
Because Leonard and Mr S live under the terrible tyranny of the veg box, which is delivered weekly and packed with organic vegetables they have to chomp through in double quick time or face a massive build up of broad beans and turnips. If we don’t eat it all in time, Leonard gets out the juicer. We are forced to queue up like children waiting for a dose of cod liver oil and take our turn to down a foaming glass of swampy green cabbage/lettuce/courgette/broccoli/rocket/runner bean juice. It’s not nice.
With the fear of juice in me, I’ve done my best and by that I mean I’ve made a lot of soup. It’s amazing how much veg you can get through in one panload and the addition of butter, oil and good stock improves most things (significantly more than ramming them through a juicer and adding mint).
But when it comes to a glut of tomatoes, just heating and blending them won’t do, because British tomatoes aren’t that great. They’re a tropical fruit and Britain couldn’t be less tropical if it was called Snowania and ruled by a Penguin King.
To give them a chance, I roasted the tomatoes until they were sweet, sticky and little charred and then blitzed them with some buttery onions, hot stock and garden mint. Another dinner, another blow struck against Veg Box Juice.
(You’ll have to excuse the terrible picture. I was in a rush to get everything finished so we could watch Sherlock. I’m sure you understand.)
Roast tomato and mint soup
2 tbsp olive oil
150g onions, finely chopped
1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 sprigs mint plus extra leaves for garnish
Sugar, to taste
Natural yogurt, to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 230°C/fan oven 210C/gas mark 8. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and pour over the olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and turn the tomatoes with your hands to coat. Tip into a roasting tin and roast for 30–40 minutes until very soft and lightly charred.
2 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan over a very low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and then a lid. Sweat for about 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured. Remove from the heat and keep covered.
3 When the tomatoes are ready, add them and their juices to the onions with the mint sprigs and hot stock and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Ladle into a blender and blitz until smooth (or use a hand-held blender in the pan if you don’t mind being sprayed with boiling hot soup).
4 Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Ladle into warm bowls and top each serving with a tablespoon of yogurt and some shredded mint leaves.