Slow roasted tomato soup

Life is certainly a little topsy turvy right now. Truthfully, most days, I don’t know whether I am coming or going. We, like many, are navigating all things pandemic as we settle into our new “normal” of working from home and trying to homeschool at the same time.

Yes 2020 has not been all that wonderful for our little family, thus far. First we had the fires, then the dust storms. Then it was the hail storm that saw the end of our beloved car, and some other truly sad events for our family happened not long after.

So yes, topsy turvy is certainly how we are all feeling at the moment. To put it politely.

But in some respects, life – as chaotic and uncertain as it is right now – has also slowed . No more running from activity to activity after school, and no more weekend sport. Just leisurely walks up to daycare each afternoon to collect the littlest one, and family hikes together on the weekend when Miss M inevitably says “mountain?” as soon as she wakes.

We’ve built forts, done puzzles, watched movies and lots of arts and crafts. We’ve eaten our weight in chocolate too (not good), but also caught up on a few things around the house when the motivation strikes (good).

And now that the weather is starting to turn, slow cooking is inevitably going to make an appearance. Filling our tummies with comforting food (that is not chocolate) and making the house smell amazing. Little effort, generally, but offering a tasty reward at the end of the day.

Take this roasted tomato soup, for instance, that we created a little while ago when a craving for soup struck. Fortunately I had an abundance of tomatoes on hand, and could think of nothing better than to roast them low and slow in the oven.

Halved and drizzled with garlic-infused olive oil, and seasoned, then roasted for 40 minutes.

When the tomatoes were done, we simmered them in a mixture of vegetable stock, basil and Italian herbs. Then pureed until smooth, and topped with a little extra basil.

The result? A fragrant soup that was so very rich in flavour. I think a drizzle of cream would have taken it to even greater heights – although we didn’t have any on hand on this particular occasion.

We even had leftovers, which was perfect for a speedy soup the following day. Eaten at home, of course.

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Slow roasted tomato soup
Keyword soup
Keyword soup
  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Place the tomatoes cut side up on lined baking trays. Drizzle with olive oil and season.
  3. Roast for 40 minutes, then place into a saucepan with the stock and 2 cups of water. Add the herbs and stir to combine. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, then use a slick blender to blend until smooth.
  4. Divide among serving bowls and top with basil leaves (and cream, if you have it).
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Tomato and corn soup and a winner announced

IMG_0072[4] Happy Monday lovely people. Let me start this week off by sharing….you guessed it….another soup. IMG_0078 And what a tasty little soup it was too. Taken from a weekly recipe mag, it was rather easy to throw together.  Simply – tomatoes, onion (and later, green chillies) roasted… IMG_0062 Until starting to blister. IMG_0066 Then combined with corn kernels, chicken stock and garlic, and simmered until soft. IMG_0063IMG_0067 Finished with a good ol’ blend, and topped with a mixture of avocado, coriander and lime juice. Served with a side of corn chips. IMG_0072 We both agreed that the lime / avocado mixture completely lifted this soup. Turning it from nice, to really scrumptious (and even the little Miss agreed!) IMG_0074 Definitely a soup that we will add to the ‘make again’ list. ____ Thankyou to everyone that entered my Fitness First “Pay it Forward” giveaway. Untitled design (2) I loved reading the entries, and really wish I could send everyone the prize pack. For I could relate to so many.  But, alas, there can only be one winner. And that is…. Yasimum! Here’s hoping the prize pack will help you on your road to recovery, and assist you in reaching your fitness goals! I’ll be in touch by email soon. Thanks against to Fitness First for sponsoring the whole #changeforthebest campaign! —- What about you? Cook anything fun this past weekend?

Tomato & veggie quinoa soup

IMG_9615 Sometimes – when it comes to meals -  you just know you have stumbled onto a winner. And not even when you are sitting down enjoying the finished product. No – it is when you come across the recipe and can just ‘feel’ that it will be a hit. I had one of these moments on the weekend. We’d had a big yum cha brunch, and our appetites by dinner were still far from raging. I flicked through a recent copy of the Healthy Food Guide (one of my favourites) and found a recipe for a tomato quinoa soup that immediately appealed. Then, with a few of my own tweaks, we soon found ourselves huddled over big bowls of steaming soup with the Season 4 finale of Breaking Bad on the TV. A perfect Sunday night really. But back to that soup. IMG_9588 I loved how full of vegetables this soup was. Carrot, celery, tomatoes – and I added some broccoli for good measure. IMG_9590 Into a pot with stock, herbs and garlic… and then simmered for 20 minutes or so (until the veggies were soft). IMG_9603 Then out came my trust stick-blender – converting the mix into a thick, hearty soup. IMG_9613 And the real winner?   IMG_9607 Ladling the soup over some quinoa that I had prepared separately – providing extra bulk and a bit of a protein kick. IMG_9617 I topped the soup with a mixture of shredded basil, parsley and mint, and seasoned well with black pepper. And the final star of the show? IMG_9618 Some gorgeously-chewy olive sourdough – from a favourite bakery. I know soup gets a bad wrap (kinda like salads in the warmer months) but I truly love them for their versatility, ease and the fact they can be thrown together so quickly. And this soup had even Mr BBB convinced! IMG_9621 Tomato & Veggie Quinoa Soup – Makes 2 generous serves

  • olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cups water
  • 1-2 tbs fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1cup cooked quinoa
  • Fresh herbs to serve – I used shredded mint, basil and parsley
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the vegetables, garlic and oregano, and sauté for a few minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock, water and basil – and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree using a stick blender, then season with pepper to taste.
  4. Divide the quinoa between serving bowls. Spoon over the soup, and sprinkle with extra herbs.

What about you? Tried any new soup combinations lately?

Summer salmon loving

IMG_7267 For a while, I was really diligent at including more fish in our diet (helped too by a fishmonger opening up within walking distance from our home). But that shop closed down, and I have again become relatively non-committal to fish dinners. Not because I don’t like fish, probably more because I am still a tad intimidated by it.  But not such intimidation needed to apply for this recent salmon feast. I marinated the salmon fillets (that the fishmonger had kindly boned and skinned for me) in some lemon zest, juice and oil – then set Mr BBB to work to cook them on the BBQ. haha yep – doesn’t get much easier than that! IMG_7266 I, meanwhile, returned to the comforts of the kitchen and put together some accompaniments. IMG_7273 Starting with a tomato ‘salsa’ of sorts, with juice ripe tomatoes, lemon juice, zest, and coriander. IMG_7272 And a side salad with spinach, red onion, cucumber and …. nectarines! IMG_7269 Despite not normally being a fan of fruit in salads, Mr BBB agreed that it was the perfect ‘sweet’ to the ‘sour’ of the lemony salsa. IMG_7271 Overall – this was a really tasty dish – and one that I think would be perfect for a summer dinner party with friends. Simple to prepare, but packed with flavours – with the added bonus that the salmon can be cooked outside on the BBQ! A winner all round. What about you? Are you a fan of fruit in salads?

15 minute meal – chicken cacciatore spaghetti

IMG_8309 It seems that my attempts to get my food blogging up to date is not working too well. For I came across these photos on my computer – of a dish that I made some months, yes months, ago. IMG_8298 But I couldn’t let the details hide away on my computer, for the meal was a delicious one and longed to be shared with the internet world Winking smile IMG_8301 Another Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meal special – that took the ol’ tomato pasta and turned it into something pretty damn delicious. IMG_8312 Diced chicken, sautéed with mushrooms, pancetta, rosemary and chargrilled capsicum. Finished with olives, passata, red wine, garlic, chilli and basil. IMG_8306  Tossed through spaghetti, topped with parmesan and basil, and you have yourself a ‘lick the bowl’ clean pasta meal.* IMG_8308 What about you? Are you a fan of tomato-based pastas? * I can attest to the bowl licking…..just perhaps Winking smile

Sundried (oven-dried) tomatoes

Happy Monday lovely people! I want to start the week by sharing with you a fantastic way to use any abundance of tomatoes that you may have. toms For over the weekend, I had just that. IMG_2599 A pile of tomatoes in my fruit bowl that were juicy and ripe, and needed to be used before they turned. Simply, I sliced them in half and placed them (cut side up) on a rack over a baking dish. Sprinkled with a little sea salt and a drizzle of garlic infused olive oil… IMG_2601 Then into the oven at 100C for 10 hours.  Yes you read that correct. 10 hours! But what a delightful sight I was greeted with when I opened the oven later in the day…. IMG_2609IMG_2607 Perfectly dried tomatoes, packed full of flavour. IMG_2611 And while the uses for these beauties are endless, on this occasion I turned to an old favourite….. IMG_2624 Homemade pizza! Tomato paste, basil, mozzarella and of course, those oven-dried tomatoes. IMG_2625 And, true to form, they were the star of the show. And so very easy to make. Win win really! What about you? Ever dried your own tomatoes?

Balsamic steak with tomato relish

Some meals are just so delightful that they don’t deserve to be placed in the archives to be blogged about another day. IMG_1993 Nay, they require immediately blogging praise, while the memory is still fresh in mind, and on the palate. This simple yet delicious balsamic steak that we cooked last night is one such meal. Courtesy of the latest edition of the Healthy Food Guide magazine. IMG_2002 From the melt-in-your-mouth tender fillet steak (from our new butcher *love*), that was marinated in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, garlic and whole grain mustard. To the creamy potato mash, jazzed up with crème fraiche and seeded mustard. IMG_1997 But the real star of the dish was the rather wonderful ‘relish’, made simply by baking halved mini roma tomatoes, then combining them with a mixture of balsamic vinegar, parsley and flaked almonds (I was out of pine nuts). IMG_2003 Beautiful flavours. Beautiful meal. And one I will be making again – that’s for sure! What about you? Ever made your own ‘relish’?

Bring a plate – tomato, olive and boccocini bites

IMG_9839 We were invited to a cocktail party recently and asked to “bring a plate”. Something savoury to share, and soak up the effects of tequila-laden margaritas. IMG_9830 And I think these little bites fit the bill just perfectly. IMG_9834 Pitted kalamata olives, baby boccocini and serrano tomatoes (halved), threaded onto skewers (aka.. toothpicks). IMG_9840 For a ‘dip’, I cheated and spooned some store-bought basil pesto into a small bowl in the middle of the plate. IMG_9841 For we all know that tomatoes + basil are a match made in heaven! IMG_9843 Although these take a little time to put together, they are super easy and rather cute! IMG_9836 A lovely little retro ‘bring a plate’ contribution. What about you? What do you bring when asked to ‘bring a plate’?

Roasted tomato sauce

IMG_5324 When I glanced into my fruit bowl the other week, I noticed that we had accumulated quite a few tomatoes – all of which were at the perfect stage of ripeness for immediate use. IMG_5313 And although I do enjoy a tomato / cheese sandwich, even I wouldn’t be able to get through this lot before they spoiled. IMG_5314 The solution? An oven baked tomato sauce. IMG_5315 A delicious, delicious, oven baked tomato sauce. That was so very easy to make, and made our house smell amazing! IMG_5316 Just chop the tomatoes, and place them in an oven-proof dish with sliced carrots, onion, garlic, red wine, olive oil and fresh basil. IMG_5317 Give it a good stir. Then bake at a low heat for 4 hours. Until your tomatoes look something like this…. IMG_5319 Tender, sweet tomatoes and aromatic vegetables. IMG_5320 I don’t have a food mill, so I simply pureed the whole batch – skins and all. And suddenly we had ourselves a luscious tomato sauce (that I had to stop myself from eating by the spoonful straight out of the bowl). IMG_5323 What I particularly loved about this sauce is that you don’t need to sit by the stove stirring it. Rather, just place it in the oven on low, and get on with your day – returning hours later to find that the oven has done all the work for you! IMG_5324 We have used this sauce in a couple of dinner since, but my favourite would have to have been the pasta dish we created. Nothing fancy, just rice fettuccine, baby bocconcini and fresh basil from our garden. IMG_5326 Simple, yet spot on for flavour. IMG_5327 Especially with the little salty bursts from the bocconcini. IMG_5328 Finished with a glass of vino, and I felt like quite the Italian Nonna. IMG_5330 Delish! IMG_5331 What about you? Do you make your own tomato sauce?

Tomato soup with a twist

While it’s rare for me to serve canned soups for a meal, sometimes you just can’t beat their convenience. IMG_9742 That’s not to say, however, that you can’t add your own little flavour touches. Such as on this occasion when a humble can of condensed tomato soup was ‘jazzed’ up a little using onion, basil, garlic and char grilled capsicum. IMG_9745 Cooked for 15  minutes, then blended until smooth. IMG_9749 I doubt anyone would even notice that the basis of this soup came out of a can, I know my guests didn’t! IMG_9748 Easy! IMG_9753 What about you? Ever ‘cheat’ when it comes to soups?