Where oh where has summer gone? Where oh where can it be??? My goodness but it's turned really chilly today! There is a definite autumnal feel in the air . . . and to be honest the garden is beginning to look very tired. But my tomatoes are ripening beautifully . . .
Cooler weather is not too much of a problem though, as it gives me the chance to cook up this beautiful Cream of Tomato Soup, which is a real favourite of ours. If you have never tried homemade Cream of Tomato Soup, you are really missing a real treat!
And don't allow your not having any fresh ripe tomatoes stop you from making it either, because this soup is beautiful even when made with a good quality tinned tomato. (The chopped Italian ones in Tomato juice are lovely.)
Delicious with crackers (rude or not, I love mine crumbled into the soup and topped with a tasty pat of butter), or perfect with some crusty bread or a tasty grilled cheese sandwich!
I did grilled cheese with mango chutney . . . so easy and so tasty. Especially if you follow a few rules . . .ie. don't rush the sandwich. You get a much nicer crust if you grill on a medium low temperature for a longer period of time rather than trying to get them grilled quickly at a high temperature. Spread a low fat mayo on the outside rather than softened butter. It is lower in calories and adds a nice flavour.
In fact this can meal can be made using skim milk in the soup and low fat cheddar cheese in the sandwiches, and I guarantee you will not notice any discernable difference from the higher fat versions!
Comfort food absolutely . . . late summer food, oh yeah! The perfect way to use up some of those tomatoes that are coming fast and furious at the moment??? Definitely!
*Cream of Tomato Soup*
Simple, warm and comforting.
750ml of chopped peeled tomatoes (Fresh if in season, or canned if not)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
4 TBS unsalted butter
1 ounce plain flour (1/4 cup)
2 pints milk (4 cups)
1 heaped TBS of runny honey
(Greek honey is fabulous)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the bicarbonate and set aside til needed.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium low heat, until softened, but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over top and continue to cook and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes longer. This helps to remove the raw flour taste. Stir together the milk, honey, salt and basil. Slowly whisk this mixture into the flour mixture. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is slightly thickened. Whisk in the pureed tomatoes. Bring just to the simmer. Remove from the heat and put through a seive or strainer, using the back of a large spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Reheat gently until hot. Serve immediately, ladled into heated bowls.
Note: The flavour of the tomatoes used is crucial. If garden fresh are not available or in season, good quality tinned tomatoes will give this soup more flavour than poor quality tomatoes.