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Kitchen kit part 2: My favourite soup (and a great giveaway)

April 12, 2011

Tomatoes ripening and fresh tomato soup

Our tomato harvest is the best ever this year.  Just before I left the UK in early September, my bargain hunting Mother took me to the local garden centre where they’d reduced all their packets of seeds to just 50 pence each (3 AED).  I brought back packets and packets.  Our favourite have been the very nobbly ones that remind me of ones I ate in Spain (20 years ag0) – they knocked the spots off the perfect round tasteless spheres from Holland.  We’ve had to start picking them early and leaving them to ripen on an outside table as the birds are attacking them with a vengeance.  This seems to work better than using plastic snakes like the dxb gardener.

Tomatoes ripening outside on the table

Our bounty is still quality rather than quantity (unlike boozychef’s haul) but luckily local tomatoes in the supermarket are now red and ripe and I had an urgent craving for my very favourite soup.  I think that you crave things for a reason and should indulge  (although if it’s for chocolate you should go for a brisk walk to get the happy hormones flowing) and maybe I needed some vitamin C or just a chilli fix.  To get soup just the right texture a stick blender is a brilliant piece of kitchen kit.  I bought my Braun Fusion at least 14 years ago in Saudi Arabia and it’s still going strong.  It has earned its place in my kitchen for making smoothies and blending soups alone.

So when the Braun people sent me a Multiquick Cordless I was happy to try it out as I’d had such a good experience with my old one.  I whizzed up the finished soup in a few seconds (you can use directly in the pan and rinse under the tap afterwards).  This new model is cordless and recharges on a neat little unit  – molto conveniente.  It has a locking button (a safety precaution I appreciate – those blades are sharp).  There’s a jug for chopping plus an ice crushing attachment – both useful for small amounts.  I tried it for chopping basil too (surprisingly good).  My teens have used it constantly for smoothies since it arrived.

Old stick blender and new Braun Multiquick

Braun Multi-quick giveaway

The good news is that Braun are giving one away for you too.  If you live in the United Arab Emirates you can win one (sorry if you are outside this area).  To enter just write a comment on this page about why you’d like to win a Multiquick Cordless.  You can increase your entries by additionally sharing the link to this post on Twitter (be sure to mention @sally2hats in the tweet so I know) and by commenting on My Custard Pie Facebook page.  I’ll pick one at random on Tuesday 26th April 2011 so you’ve got two weeks to enter.

So to my favourite soup; it’s from Jamie Oliver’s very first book The Naked Chef.  There is something about the slightly sweet, spicy layers of taste that make me want to eat bowl after bowl.  I used the last of the purple basil from my garden to drizzle and ate with a hunk of Nigella’s brown loaf (use 200g each of rye flour, wholemeal and strong white bread flour and a bit more water – plain, not potato).  KP took a container to work and sent me an e-mail entitled ‘Verdict on the soup’ – message ‘scrummy yummy!

Note about the recipe: Jamie says to deseed the tomatoes after peeling them (the easiest way to do this is to cut in half horizontally and gently squeeze over the sink).  I didn’t bother this time and it didn’t seem to make any difference.  I used the Braun jug and chopper to cut them up which saved time.  Be careful with the chillies – 1 tablespoon of fierce red chillies would make this searingly hot.  I used one small hot one and one larger milder one.

Fresh tomato and pepper soup

Fresh tomato and sweet chilli pepper soup with smashed basil – adapted slightly from The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver

Serves 6

15 ripe plum tomatoes
3 medium red peppers (capsicum)
approximately 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh seeded red chilli
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
600 ml chicken or vegetable stock (I used Swiss Marigold vegetable bouillon)
2 good handfuls of fresh basil leaves (I used purple basil)

Purple basil and plants from my gardenScore the tops of the tomatoes, blanch in boiling water for about 20 seconds or a little longer and remove the skins.  Grill the peppers until blackened all over (I perch each one on top of a gas burner and turn carefully with tongs).  Rest in a covered bowl until they are just cool enough to handle.  Hold the stalk and, with a knife, scrape the blackened skin downwards to remove.  You won’t get every tiny bit off but please do not be tempted to rinse them.  Remove the core (I use my usual method) and roughly chop the peppers finely (a few bursts in the Braun jug was perfect for this).

Put the chopped peppers in a warmed, thick-bottomed pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the chopped red chilli. Add a pinch of salt and cook slowly for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the roughly chopped tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes with another pinch of salt and the red wine vinegar so that they start to soften and combine. Add the hot stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste and use a stick blender in bursts to puree slightly (leave some small chunks – you don’t want it completely smooth) .

In a mortar and pestle (or a food processor – I used the Braun jug) smash the basil to a pulp with a pinch of salt. Stir the remaining olive oil and a drop more red wine vinegar. Serve the soup with the basil mixture drizzled generously over the top.  This makes an excellent first course or a nice lunch alongside a toasted cheese sandwich.

Loved hearing about your favourite items in the kitchen last time – really appreciate the comments.  Is there any bit of kit you’d never have in your kitchen?

Charred red peppers

  1. April 12, 2011 8:22 am

    Looks awesome. I’m going to use it & ball park it , probably put up my version if that’s okay with you 🙂

  2. April 12, 2011 8:28 am

    I haven’t tried tomato soup I imagine that this would taste like tomato juice which I find weird.
    I want a multiquick cordless because I don’t own one and it would surely make my kitchen adventure extra fun!

    • April 12, 2011 8:48 am

      I’m a fan of tomato juice so maybe I’m biased but I think this tastes very different – warm and slightly sweet but spicy. Glad I’ve got some left for lunch! (Thanks for entering).

      • April 19, 2011 7:28 am

        Hi Sally, please remove me from the giveaway. I won the Braun at EatWriteThink. 🙂

      • April 19, 2011 8:31 am

        Congratulations. Hope you enjoy using it – love to see what you make.

  3. April 12, 2011 8:43 am

    What a pity I don’t qualify for your give away. Your soup looks fabulous and beautifully photographed post.
    🙂 Mandy

  4. April 12, 2011 9:16 am

    Good tomato soup is hard to achieve…so for my next night in, am gonna try yours. Dare I say a very famous chef once told me, stick to Heinz! Woohoo, always up for a giveaway! Why would I love a Braun Multiquick Cordless? Well it may just be my incentive to stay in for once and cook! I will do anything for a more hassle-free cooking experience. x

  5. April 12, 2011 9:49 am

    This is one of my fave Jamie Oliver recipes and one of the first I have tried! I have cheated in the past and used tinned whole tomatoes – sshh, don’t tell Jamie.

    I want to win! so I can blitz and puree right from my stove (a corded hand blender doesn’t reach that far as my plug is too far away).

  6. April 12, 2011 9:49 am

    Great post. I looooove Tomato Soup and I think Jamie rocks, so will definitely give this one a go…

  7. Sherri Voebel permalink
    April 12, 2011 10:01 am

    The pictures are lovely, Thank you for the hearty and quick-to-make recipe.

    Capsicum is the “hot” ingredient found in chiles and cayenne peppers and a natural pest deterrent to birds and rodents. Chile seeds that have been removed from the pods are an inexpensive way to deter pests from your tomato crop. And you will likely be able to grow a batch of capsicum if you sow them in your pots.

    As for garden pest, a home made natural insecticidal soap spray with capsicum added is an alternative to higher priced pest products at Ace. Make cayenne tea by whisking chili seeds in hot water in your Braun (with lid to protect your eyes) or buy cayenne powder off the shelf. To make it stick to the plants, I use 1 teaspoon of liquid Pears soap per liter of warm water (Pears soap is a gentle Castille soap like you use to clean your face or wash babies). Sold at Lulus and Carrefour. Spray at night when it is cooler. This link has recommendations for using cayenne pepper, garlic and chiles in the spray. Perhaps this will help resolve your pest problem. Reduce the amount of soap in their formulation and take care to use a natural non-detergerant soap.

    • April 12, 2011 11:56 am

      Sherri – this is so useful. I have been looking for a homemade insecticide – this is really great advice. Thanks for taking the trouble to share it.

  8. April 12, 2011 11:20 am

    they look incredibly yummy !i have lived in the UAE for 25 years ! and your post has inspired me to start growing things in my house 🙂 beautiful !! look forward to reading and seeing more !! The cordless braun sounds amazing ! would be a perfect addition to my new kitchen to make stuff i plant to grow 🙂

  9. April 12, 2011 11:32 am

    Tomato soup has got to be one of the most delicious soups out there, I share the same love for it as you do! And boy, does that soup look wonderful. The colors are so vibrant, makes me want to make my own today. Lovely photos 🙂

  10. April 12, 2011 11:50 am

    The bowls of red soup looks fiery and mouthwatering. I can do with one now and the same goes for multiquick cordless as the one I got has gone kaput!

  11. April 12, 2011 2:09 pm

    Hi Sally, so glad I get to see this! I would love to win because I do my kitchen adventures with my 7 year old and a cordless gadget will be so helpful for those tiny, clumsy hands! 🙂

    Beautiful photos and the food images made my stomach grumble!

  12. April 12, 2011 3:56 pm

    We haven’t yet planted our tomatoes in the garden since it’s still very cold here. You are already picking yours, wow! I’m craving for that time to come.

  13. April 12, 2011 9:08 pm

    Oh yum…there is something so wonderful about FRESH ripe tomatoes mixed with basil…one of my favorite flavor combos!

  14. April 12, 2011 11:11 pm

    What an amazing colour soup! Can you believe I have an allergy to red peppers?! They make me really sick, but I will try and make the soup without. Haven’t yet got into growing my own but finding rhubarb in my garden and being super excited may have given me the nudge. Your tomatoes look cool! Ren x

    • April 14, 2011 9:43 am

      Oh no – poor you….I love them.

  15. naila permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:26 pm

    Lovely post as usual sally and healthy too. iv always read about tomato soup but ur post is pushing me to try out ur recipe.

    But to go ahead, I badly need the Braun Multi-quick cordless. why? coz it’l be so convenient to make healthy soups and smoothies for my family as its cordless and by looking at its d’zine in the pic i feel that it’l be ez on the hands too. moreover, its so sleek it’l be the star attraction in my kitchen.

  16. April 14, 2011 12:24 am

    I could move to the UAE….just to win one. And what did you say about Holland tomatoes :-). Love the colours and flavours

    • April 14, 2011 9:42 am

      I’m sure there are some nice tasty tomatoes in Holland…they just don’t export them!

  17. April 15, 2011 9:45 pm

    Your soup looks amazing!!! I’d love a bowl right now with a hunk of French bread or a piece of your brown loaf!!!

    My favorite items in the kitchen? Just simple stuff like the bowl I use for making my bread, wooden spoons, and my rolling pin. 🙂

    Your multi-quick cordless from Braun looks wonderful! I might have to see if I can find one. 🙂

    By the way, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve given you an award…the Versatile Blogger Award.

    Here’s the post on my website where I’ve mentioned your name and most interesting blog:

    If you accept the award, let me know and pass the award onto 15 other newly found bloggers. The rule (which are easy) are listed on my post.

    I’ve really enjoyed browsing your website! You have a lot of great recipes that I can’t wait to try! 🙂

    • April 19, 2011 9:01 am

      Thank you so much for the nomination and for your lovely comments.

  18. April 16, 2011 1:50 pm

    I love Jamie Oliver and his recepes. I do the same soup only with fresh tomato, you could find in my blog, “gazpacho” tipical spanish dish. ciao marica
    p.s.: I like your blog very much!!!

    • April 16, 2011 2:45 pm

      Oh I love gazpacho – sadly KP loathes cold soups.

  19. April 16, 2011 1:59 pm

    I love you blog and Jamie Oliver too! I’m Italian but I’m doing recepes from other countries.
    ciao marica

  20. April 17, 2011 8:55 am

    What an amazing colour in your soup! Love Jamie Oliver recipes, and I must get myself a new stick blender – my husband broke the last one trying to make compost (I wasn’t happy). 🙂

    • Sherri Voebel permalink
      April 17, 2011 11:37 am

      You poor thing. This sounds like something I would do! (LOL)

    • April 17, 2011 11:40 am

      That made me chuckle. Don’t tell KP – he might get ideas for his tomato fertilisation!

      • Sherri Voebel permalink
        April 17, 2011 6:15 pm

        There is a 24 Inch Garden Bulb Auger made for this purpose. It looks like a Maxi Braun. Not great for soups, but wonderful for planting flower bulbs, bedding plants and mixing compost or fertilizer in a bucket. It can be mail ordered from the internet or purchased at a hardware or garden center. This is what it looks like:

  21. April 17, 2011 9:33 am

    thank you for sharing your favourite tomato soup recipe. This looks lusciously good. Those oxheart tomatoes look glorious!

  22. April 17, 2011 1:20 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous crop of heirloom tomatoes, and the dept red colour of the soup! Wow…also love your post, LOL on the old faithful! How sweet are you Sally. If a Dubai address works for you, please throw my name into the hat! I love ktichen tools, and this looks great!!

  23. April 17, 2011 6:56 pm

    Oh dear forgot to say why I’d like to win it…to make a summer full of smoothies this 2011!!

  24. April 18, 2011 7:18 am

    One kit that was a total waste for me (not kitchen related but still) was a steam mop. What a useless piece of junk! Sorry just venting here! BTW Sally, where did you get that purple basil…not the farmers market was it….don’t think I’ve seen that here!

    • April 18, 2011 10:24 am

      Spooky – I was eyeing them up in the Lakeland catalogue…will give a steam mop a miss then! Purple basil was home grown – looks pretty rather than superior taste I would say although my green basil was ravaged by something eating it this year (and not us!) and munched right down to the stalks.

  25. April 18, 2011 10:33 pm

    This looks great! I have a bunch of peppers from a trip to central Mexico…will add those in, too.

    • April 18, 2011 10:45 pm

      How cool! I’d love to travel there.

  26. April 20, 2011 1:40 pm

    Mmmm tomato soup with a kick! I love it! And I love my Old Faithful and use it all the times…for soups and everything else! Lucky you with your new Braun and those luscious tomatoes!

  27. April 20, 2011 1:45 pm

    Those tomatoes look amazing as does that soup!


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