After a particularly indulgent Christmas and New Year, it’s probably fitting that I add a nutritious, wholesome recipe. During the winter months, my family goes through bucket loads of soup. Stray vegetables lurking at the bottom of the fridge don’t stand a chance and my ageing hand blender works overtime. My accompaniment of choice; thickly sliced grinder bread, toasted and drowning in melted vintage cheddar. This recipe uses fresh tomatoes but feel free to use tinned (or a combination of the two!)
1.5 kilos chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 large chopped onion
3 chopped cloves garlic
1 big handful of chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons tomato purée
300 mls water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the red pepper directly onto a gas hob turned on high. Don’t worry about starting a fire, the first time I did this I was nervous but soon realised I had nothing to worry about! The outer skin will blacken and when it does, turn the pepper to ensure it gets a good charring all over. If you don’t have a gas hob simply roast the pepper in the oven at 180 Celsius for about 20 minutes.
2. Let the pepper cool for a few minutes then scrape off the skin under running water. Chop the flesh of the pepper.
3. Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and gently fry until soft. Add the chopped garlic and fry for one minute. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, water, sugar and tomato purée. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. On a low to medium heat, simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
5. Add the basil and blitz with a blender. Season to taste. Serve with a cheese toasty.