So, it’s officially a week until Christmas day, how very exciting! There appears to be a lot of excitement surrounding the festive season this year, but perhaps I’m a little more receptive to it since I’m spending it with Katherine and her family. To be honest, it’ll be very interesting to see how another family spends Christmas; perhaps they should be taught the family card game. How apt that this soup should look quite so festive.
Many recipes for red pepper soups perform rather badly when it comes to preserving the natural sweetness of the fruit. As such, I’ve been very careful to avoid pairing it with anything that would disguise the main qualities of the bell pepper. Tomatoes, themselves being sweet, work very well in this capacity. The result is a deliciously sweet and temptingly light soup, worthy of just about anyone’s best bowls. However, one must remember to season correctly and delicately according to the recipe; salt is added to enhance the natural flavours of a dish and (usually) not to become a flavour itself.
I’m afraid I haven’t the time to write a lengthy, immodest and quite possibly immoral tract this evening, since I’m currently in the middle of preparing Christmas presents for one and all. This year, those destined to receive presents from this Scrooge are to take delivery of a selection of homemade sweets and treats; the lucky devils. For any of those who know they are to receive such treats, pretend you did not read this.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
• 2 red bell peppers
• Roughly 20 cherry tomatoes
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
• A pint of vegetable stock
• A few sprigs of rosemary or thyme
• 1 red chili (optional)
• A little butter
• Olive oil
1. Heat the oven to 200C. Cover the peppers in olive oil and roast for around 35 minutes. After 20 minutes pop the tomatoes into the same roasting dish. The peppers are done once they are beginning to char.
2. Whilst the fruit is cooling, begin to sweat the onions, garlic and rosemary in a liberal amount of olive oil. This should take 5 minutes. Remove the skins and seeds of your peppers. Add the stock to the onions and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Transfer everything to a food processor and blend until smooth, add the chili at this point if you desire a metaphorical kick. Once uniform, return everything to the saucepan, reheat and stir in the butter. Season to taste and serve with a little bread and cheese.
Cost: Most vegetable, or fruit, soups cost very little. As one might imagine, this is a glowing example of vegetarian economics – the entire pot of soup should set one back roughly £1.50. One wonders just how certain establishments get away with charging in excess of £6 for a bowl of soup. Apparently the technical term for this is ‘price gouging’ – a mild and less politically corrupt form of profiteering.