Jhiva for Tomatoes....and Paul's Interesting Use of Crusts

I used to love tinned soups. I would come home at lunchtime and crack open a can of Heinz Beef Broth or Minestrone, pour it into a bowl and microwave it (and I admit it, I used to enjoy seeing the peas explode), then devour it with several slices of thickly buttered bread.
That was until I decided to make my own soups. It started some years ago when I first Paul and I made him a Wild Rice Soup. I was discussing this very first soup with Paul the other night and I came to the conclusion that it was a forerunner for my Risotto making frenzy of 2004, so thick and creamy it was, that it barely resembled soup.
After that, I have made many types of soup. It can be a quick supper or a slow simmered make-ahead meal. It can be restorative or comforting or perhaps both. It can be thick or thin, chunky or smooth, healthy or rich with cream.
I know what you’re thinking: “But she said after her Soup Week that she had sworn off soups for probably life.” Ahh, but I cannot resist the seductive lure of the bowl of soup.
Last night was no exception. Paul, who feels the same ways as I do about soups, and with perhaps more nostalgia because he connects Soup and a Sandwich to summers spent with his Dad, wanted Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Soup for Supper. A nicely alliterative dish, I’m sure you’ll agree. Fortunately for him, I had already thought about making Tomato Soup for a cooking event called Jhiva for Ingredients. This is my first entry into the event, and slightly inauspicious as I am a day late so hopefully the host, My Workshop, will not be too harsh on me!
Jhiva is Sanscrit for desire, deep longing and taste. The word also represents the tongue and taste buds. Jhiva for Ingredients is a celebration of natural ingredients used in Indian Cooking. Our job is simply to do the ingredients justice in whatever way we can.
This months ingredient is the tomato in all its incarnations and the only problem with the humble tom is which recipe to make for there is surely a surfeit of tomato dishes.

I have never made Tomato Soup before, and I have never been a fan of Tinned Tomato Soup, finding it too sweet, too synthetic and the texture to be too thick. I like soups to have a little texture to them.
This particular recipe is borrowed from one of my favourite TV Chefs, Rick Stein. His food is always unpretentious and most importantly accessible to the home cook. There is nothing worse than finding a recipe that you simply must cook but you just don't have the skills or you can't get hold of the ingredients.
What makes this Tomato Soup a little different to others is that it doesn't rely on the tomatoes being roasted and it is seasoned - heavily - with a homemade Tappenade. This soup also contains no less than six cloves of garlic in addition to the 3 in the Tappenade!
Suffice it to say, I slashed the amount of garlic in both, thinking of our social status the next day, not to mention Pauls icky stomach and the soup still turned out to be pungent with the strongest allium.
Not to worry. The flavour was rich, slightly tart and quite unlike anything you extract with a can opener. Rather than roasting the tomatoes, they are roughly chopped, stalks and all, and thrown into a pan with some sauteed garlic and olive oil and cooked for no longer than two minutes, until they just start to leech out some of their tart juices. This quick cook method retains that 'just picked' flavour of the tomatoes so it has a summery resonance (did you know that up until about a year ago, I could not eat raw tomatoes? That was until I tried some vine ripened ones. Standard Budget Supermarket tomatoes have tough skins, watery flesh and very little flavour. Those on the vine, whilst considerably more money, are definitely worth the added expense. I kept popping them in my mouth whilst chopping them up last night!).
At this point they are blended up and then some of the Tappenade is stirred through to taste. A final flourish of a Chiffonade (that's thinly chopped to me and you) of fresh Basil Leaves and the soup is done.
If you were really pushed for time and/or ingredients, you could use ready bought Tappenade too. Belazu do a particularly good green olive version. You may need to salt the soup a little more heavily though.
I'm not going to write out the recipe in full for the soup because it is so simple but here is a quick rundown: 900g Vine Tomatoes, 2-6 Cloves Garlic (depending on taste) and 50ml Olive Oil. Sweat down the garlic in the warmed olive oil until fragrant, add the tomatoes which have been roughly chopped (I just quartered mine) and cook for two minutes more. Pour into a blender and process until smooth. Push through a conical seive into a clean pan, stir through some Tappenade and taste for seasoning. More salt and pepper? Finish with a final drizzle of Olive Oil and the shredded Basil Leaves (optional).
Paul was in charge of the Toasted Cheese Sandwiches. I didn't fancy his Processed Cheese Slices with Mortadella combo so he made me Mozzarella in Carozza - my favourite way to have cheese in bread. These are the round things surrounding my soup.
Paul makes his M.I.C. slightly differently to me. I just cut the crusts off and leave them square. He lays out two slices of bread, puts two circles of Mozzarella on one slice, places the other slice of bread on top and uses a cookie cutter to cut out a perfectly sealed circle of a sandwich. He then dips it in a mixture of milk and egg beaten together and fries it. It seems like a cheffy way of doing it but there's a method to his madness: Pauls Ad Hoc French Toast. What will resemble, to British readers, the leftover crusts from marmite sandwiches is in fact Maple Syrup drizzled all over the crusts from the M.I.C. He had also used up the milk and egg mix and a small nubbin of butter to fry the crusts in. As someone who still leaves the crusts on bread (and burger buns or rolls - I know, they're ALL crust), I couldn't quite face trying it myself, but Paul assures me that all they required was a touch of cinnamon in the egg/milk and a final flourish of Icing Sugar. As always, understated.

The ingenuity of the man knows no bounds and it is because of Paul and his inventiveness that I continue cook and write every single day! Paul, without you, I'm nothing!

24 comments:

Gemma said...

I love mozzarella in carozza and deicded at the weekend to make it again very soon. I find it is the perfect hangover food but french toast with maple syrup is also up there on the perfect breakfast list!

Sarah said...

This looks delicious! I've never been a fan of tinned tomato soup either, but yours looks terrific. Also...Mark and I completely fell for your goat saliva yesterday!!!

valentinA said...

I don't usually fancy tomato soup because of its tangy taste but yours looks ubber delicious & so comforting!

Veron said...

Great looking tomato soup. And kudos to Paul for his ingenuity. I know who you feel, my hubby is also very supportive for me continuing to cook,write and blog!

pom d'api said...

This looks delicious!! I love tomato soup.
Thank's for this recipe

ashleystravel said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I have never made the move to making my own tomato soup, but it looks like something I can handle! Thanks for sharing. And what an interesting way to handle leftover crusts!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I've been meaning to make mozzarella in carrozza since I saw it in one of Nigella's books (not sure which one, though).

Mortadella is so big here in Brazil, Freya!

One thing is for sure: you can tell if a person is having mortadella even if they're miles away. :D

Kelly-Jane said...

Your soup looks great, and I love the cookie cutter idea for MIC, I get a bit irritated if mine leak. Will try that next time thanks for the tip!

KJxx

Rose said...

Although I love soups, all different kinds of soup,I have never made tomato soup. But with the tapenade, I think I can give it a try.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I sure there are all kinds of things wrong with saying:
I love the way you say I love you Paul.
But there I said it anyway.
I love tomato soup also and homemades just can't be beat. Yours looks terrific.

sher said...

Oh my goodness! I wish I had that for lunch right now. I love tomato soup, and as a child I lived off of Campbell's. But, I don't like canned tomato soup anymore. Your recipe is just the thing. Thanks for that.

Kathryn said...

Mmm - soup and MIC look delicious! I love the chiffonade of basil.

Oh and Paul is indeed a star. I reckon he could have his own show, reminiscing and teasing and creating. Fab.

Kathryn x

Joyce said...

Love the fresh take on the soup preparation. Quick, easy and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

Meeta said...

Superstar Paul! Way to go. That was so Mooshie ;-) I loved it. Freya you've got a gem there!

Callipygia said...

The two of you are a great cooking duo! Also,I have never heard of M.I.C. it sounds so "important"!

Lucy said...

Tinned soup is a heinous thing indeed.

Rick Stein is an amazing cook and the soup looks great - at the market the other day I was given a huge bag of tomatoes just on that marvellous point of ripeness/near collapse. This soup, this week for us.

Yum.

Anonymous said...

I used to use cinnamon in the french toast mix of 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, dash of salt but now I love to use freshly grated nutmeg in the french toast mixture. Cinnamon and nutmeg would work together all. mom

David said...

sounds tasty!

Lydia said...

I've always loved tomato soup, and the pairing of tomato soup with toasted cheese sandwiches takes me right back to childhood. These days I make the soup with my slow-roasted tomatoes that I freeze every summer.

tigerfish said...

For me, I find tomato juice (canned, packet etc) too synthetic. I never tried tinned/canned creamy tomato soup before :O Did I miss anything?

Gattina said...

You two guys are really fantastic!
Freya, me too, didn't fancy any fresh tomato a year or two ago. Now my favorite is cherry tomato (as sweetest for snacking), not sure if its texture great for this soup, but sure I'll try.

joey said...

I love the pairing of tomato and cheese...this meal sounds heavenly and your soup looks great! What a sweetie Paul is with his round mozarella in carroza and his clever way with the crusts! :) You guys obviously make a winning team :)

Kristen said...

First of all...that soup is amazing! Yummy! i can just taste how fresh it must be.

The crust / french toast bread idea is a great one! You two are so smart!

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hi,
First time to ur blog.......All ur recipes are very nice......