Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Rainy Days and Mondays
It seems this summer we have had more than our fair share of rain. It has been cold and wet and damp for almost the whole summer. I have noticed that the mornings are getting a lot chillier this past week and there is a distinct chill in the air in the evenings. One night last week we even had to have the electric fire on down here in the kitchen just to take the chill off.
The leaves at the top of the large chestnut tree that stands at the end of the drive are already starting to turn. It's hard to believe that summer is waning, for it seems we have hardly had one at all.
Rainy days call for comfort food. Food that makes you feel all warm and squidgy inside. On a cold rainy Monday there is nothing more relaxing or comforting than a nice cup of homemade tomato soup and a hot grilled cheese toasty. The two just go together like, well, peas and carrots! If this doesn't warm the cockles of your heart, nothing will!
*Cream of Tomato Soup*
Makes 7 cups
This has to be everyone’s perennial favourite. Who hasn’t eaten a toasted cheese sandwich with a bowl of this and felt instantly comforted. Usually it’s from a tin though, and I have to tell you that, once you try making your own, you’ll never go back to tinned! A hot bowl of this cures anything that’s ailing you and makes you feel all warm and lovely inside as well! Why ever would you eat tinned when it’s so easy and much tastier to make your own from scratch!
3 cups chopped peeled tomatoes, or an equal amount of tinned tomatoes (don’t be tempted to use fresh tomatoes out of season. Their flavour will not be as good. Tinned tomatoes will give this soup more flavour in that case.)
½ tsp baking soda
4 TBS butter
1 tsp onion powder
¼ cup plain flour
4 cups milk
1 TBS honey
1 ½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ tsp dried basil flakes
Put the tomatoes into a food blender or food processor and process until completely smooth. Stir in the baking soda and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour. Let cook over medium low heat for a minute to cook out the flour and then slowly add the milk, stirring the whole time. Add the honey, onion powder, salt and basil and continue to cook and stir until it is slightly thickened. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and the ground black pepper. Bring the soup just to a simmer. Taste and correct the seasoning if required. Serve hot.
**Note- the cheese toastie was just some thinly sliced Red Leicester Cheese, mixed with some slices of medium cheddar and gouda cheeses, put between two slices of buttered French Bread, and toasted in a hot skillet until nicely browned on both sides and all meltingly gooey and good.