I have just returned from a dream holiday (vacation) and have been freshly inspired to make new food. I have been to Tokyo, Los Angeles, London and Florence. Today’s influence comes directly from America, with a tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich.
However, being English it is a tomato soup with toasted cheese sandwich! Not exactly new, but it is definitely recently inspired!
The tomato soup is as rustic as you can get (almost Italian levels of rusticness!) with no crazy ingredients, just massive amounts of tomato and an onion, garlic, chilli and celery base. The thing I find most inspiring about Italian food is no the lack of bullshit and fluffiness. It is very simple cooking with the reliance on good quality, seasonal produce. You get that right and whatever you are making will explode with flavour.
The soup is really thick, so you can thin it out with some vegetable stock, if you like. I recommend omitting this though and having it thick and rustic, like it should be.
Now apparently in America, you would never, ever dream of having a tomato soup without a grilled cheese sandwich, so I have included my recipe for that too. I like a mixture of real tomato and a little bit of tomato chutney, then countered with dijon mustard and some rocket (arugula) leaves to add pepper and heat.
I hope you enjoy this, I really loved making this soup. You will too.
Welcome back Juddy 🙂
For The Tomato Soup
- 8 large tomatoes, quartered
- 500g cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 small batch basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: 1 cup vegetable stock
For The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 8 slices bread
- 8 slices vegan American style cheese slices (I used bio cheese)
- Small packet rocket
- 1 tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
- Dijon mustard
- Tomato chutney
- Vegan margarine
- Preheat your oven to 22 degrees Celsius
- Lay the tomatoes onto a foil lined baking tray (you may need 2 for this)
- Sprinkle olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper
- Roast for 15 minutes
- In a large casserole dish/saucepan, fry the vegetables for 5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly
- Add the balsamic vinegar and fry until the liquid evaporates
- Transfer the tomatoes, vegetable mixture and basil leaves (reserving 2 or 3 leaves) to a blender and blend for 30 seconds, or until your desired consistency has been reached
- Transfer back to the same pan you used for the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and put the lid on to keep warm, whilst you make the sandwiches
- The soup tastes great like this, however if it is a little too thick for your liking, add a cup of vegetable stock and heat for a few minutes, whilst stirring
- Using some vegan butter (not too much), spread onto one side of each slice of bread. These are your outside slices. On the other side, spread on some dijon mustard and then layer with 2 slices cheese, tomato chutney, rocket and some black pepper
- Close the sandwiches and fry on a preheated frying pan (with lid on) on medium heat, for 2 – 3 minutes on each side
- Cut into triangles as only a monster would cut into squares
- Finally, take the reserved basil leave, roll up like a guitar and slice into thin strips. Add this to each bowl of soup and serve
- Get it into ya!
N.E.R.D. “In Search Of…”
Ok, throughout my trip, I am not ashamed to admit this, had a holiday theme song. That song was “Feels” by Calvin Harris and Pharell Williams and Katy Perry. I don’t care what anyone says, that is a CHOON.
It reminded me though was an amazing artist Pharell is. Not only is he 83 years old, he is a successful producer and artist throughout multiple decades and genres. Everyone should aspire to be more like this guy.
This is the album that got me into him. N.E.R.D. is my favourite thing he does and this is my favourite album. Give it a spin….
Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!