People bask in the sunshine in the summer and think that that's just a given. Alas, such is usually not true in ye old Britain. A soggy summer seems to be in the stars (again). I am not altogether sad about the rain. It is ironical that it didn't rain as much as it should have in the past months so the water reserves is now deemed inadequate for the "summer months". As a result, a nationwide hosepipe ban has been declared as early as spring which means we are not allowed to use our hosepipes for whatever watering activities we had in mind. Thus my gratefulness for a spot of rain every now and then. I won't need to lug buckets of water to the back of the garden.
|Wet, wet, wet.|
My daughter loves tomato soup, even the tinned variety. I like that too, to a certain extent. I can't have too much of it because it gives me heartburn. One day, she made tomato soup from scratch and it was very delicious. It was miles away from the bright orange ready made stuff. She used fresh tomatoes which she first roasted with garlic and onions before pureeing with some stock. Basil was added before serving. It was so fresh and vibrant and was packed with flavour.
I followed her footsteps but took it a step further. I added spaghetti and meatballs to make a main meal soup. Boy, was it satisfying. Even with the meatballs, the freshness of the tomatoes was still the dominant taste. I added carrots and celery to the roasting pan and that added a further sweetness and body to the soup. Basil leaves strewn just before serving provides contrasting but complementary flavour. Simple yet delicious. That's what we like, right?
This recipe will make 6-8 servings.
Ingredients for the meatballs:
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsps. of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. of dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsps. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground fennel seeds
400 gms. of minced beef
Pre-heat the oven to 400° F/ 200° C. Put the chopped onion, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and olive oil in a microwaveable bowl and mix together. Cover and microwave on high heat for 3 minutes. Add this to the bread crumbs, mix, then set aside.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and add the onion and bread crumb mixture. Form into 1 1/2" diameter balls. Set aside and prepare the ingredients for the soup.
Ingredients for the tomato soup:
6 vine ripened tomatoes, washed and quartered
2 medium sized onions, sliced
2 carrots, sliced lengthwise
1 stalk of celery, sliced lengthwise
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. sugar
tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 liters beef stock
200 gms. of uncooked dry spaghetti, cut into 2" lengths
1/2 c. torn fresh basil leaves
Arrange the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and tomatoes on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the salt and sugar evenly on top, then drizzle with olive oil. Put the prepared meatballs on top of the vegetables.
Bake for 30 minutes, turning the meat balls over after 20 minutes.
Take the tray out of the oven and transfer the meatballs to a dish.
Put the vegetables, including the drippings, in a pot. Add the stock and puree with a hand blender (or puree in batches in a blender). Bring to a boil. Add in the meatballs and the spaghetti. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the spaghetti is al dente. Don't overcook the spaghetti as it will still cook further as it sits in the bowl. Sprinkle with the torn basil and serve.
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