Tag Archives: soup

Roasted organic tomato soup

20 Apr

Roasted organic tomato soup, straight from the farm.

Nothing beats fresh organic ingredients, straight from the farm, still warm from the sun. My friend John House recently surprised us all by buying a neat piece of land outside Stellenbosch, and starting his own organic vegetable farm. It’s been a year since John started to work the soil at Genesis Farm, and now his crops are standing tall with huge basil plants, different kinds of tomatoes, beautiful peppers and chilli’s, and all kinds of other organic produce.

You can immediately taste the difference in a freshly picked organic tomato, straight from the vine: it still tastes of the sun and the earth – sweet, intense tomato flavours unlike any store-bought fruit. So, with my basket filled to the brim with the reddest plump tomatoes, I knew I had to make a proper, chunky roasted tomato soup. I had eaten some really tasty tomato soup at Nook Eatery a few times, and knew they had the recipe posted on their blog. I took a few notes and adapted the recipe for what I had on hand. The soup is intense with real beefy tomato flavours, packed with umami. I used the tomatoes whole – no skins or seeds were discarded (but if you are a picky eater, feel free to push the cooked soup through a sieve).


  • 3 T (45 ml) olive oil
  • 200 g leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced/crushed
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • about 16 ripe organic tomatoes (medium to large), chopped into chunks
  • 2 cans of whole Italian tomatoes, chopped into chunks
  • 2 T (30 ml) sugar
  • 1 T (15 ml) salt
  • 2 t (10 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T (45 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 T (30 ml) tomato paste
  • to serve: handful of fresh basil leaves, more olive oil and fresh cream


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large heavy based pot on the stove top, heat olive oil, then fry chopped leeks, onion, carrot, garlic and thyme until soft and slightly brown (I didn’t chop it by hand, but used a food processor – saved a lot of time).
  3. Add the tomatoes (fresh and canned), as well as the sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and tomato paste. Stir to mix thoroughly. Transfer to a large deep roasting tray, then put in the oven to roast for 1 hour (stir after 30 minutes).
  4. Remove from oven, discard thyme sprigs, then process untill the right texture is achieved (I found that it stays quite chunky after processing, which is perfect).
  5. Serve with cream (I love lots of cream in my soup) and a dollop of basil paste.

How to make basil paste:

In a large pot, bring some water to a simmer. Have a large bowl filled with iced water ready next to it. Blanche the basil leaves for 3 seconds (not more, not less) in the boiling water, then remove at once with a slotted spoon and immerse immediately in iced water. Remove from iced water, lightly squeeze out excess water, then pat dry with a tea towel. Transfer to a food processor or pestle & mortar, along with enough olive oil to form a paste and a pinch of course salt flakes. Process/pound to a paste. Store in an air tight container in the fridge and use within 3 days.

(Contact John House from Genesis Farm on 082-215 6968. Their website will be live by next week.)

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Quick and smooth butter bean soup

9 Sep

Quick, smooth, butter bean soup - ready in 25 minutes!

To make a great soup, you need to start with great home-made stock. You also need time, because the ingredients need to get comfortable with each other in the pot, creating a marriage of deep flavours and textures. But for this soup, all you need is 4 cans of butter beans, some store-bought chicken stock, 2 onions, and a sprig of thyme. It takes 25 minutes to cook from scratch and is truly delicious!

I grew up with old-fashioned bean soup, made with lots of extra vegetables and meat on the bone. My Mom cooked it for hours to get that wonderful thick texture. I used to cringe at the texture of the beans though, and forced my Mother to push my portion through a sieve to eliminate any whole bean chunks. But the flavour was excellent, and today I would eat it without changing a thing.

So the thing is: if you don’t have a couple of hours to slowly cook your beans, opt for this great quick alternative. There is no compromise on the flavour and your friends will surely come back for more!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 4 cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1,2 litres chicken stock (warm)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, fry the onions and thyme in the butter/oil over medium heat untill slightly brown and soft.
  2. Add the beans and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. With a stick blender, puree the soup untill smooth.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread.
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Moroccan chicken soup with couscous

14 Jul

Moroccan chicken soup with couscous

One of Mariah Carey’s new babies is called “Moroccan.” Not Morocco, Moroccan. Strange but true. It makes me pull a face that I hope will never be photographed.

This Moroccan soup has nothing to do with Mariah Carey or her twins, thankfully. But rather everything to do with the sultry and mysterious land of clay tagines, intricate red and purple tapestries, and spicy fragrant broths. […]

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Split pea soup with smoked pork hocks

20 Apr

With the African summer sun starting to fade, autumn comfort food is taking center stage in my kitchen.  My split pea soup with smoked pork hocks is a seriously simple, seriously tasty soup that is 100% fool-proof. The flavour that comes from cooking the smoked hocks with the peas creates a deep, comforting meaty soup that almost needs no seasoning at the end. You’ve got to taste it to believe it – a winning recipe! […]

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