Since my baby girl C was born slightly more than a year ago, I’ve started on a collection of hand-written recipes in a book, to be eventually given to her as her sixteenth birthday present. When the day comes for her to live on her own and cook for herself, she will have the recipes on hand to make the food that I cooked for her, food that she loved, and food that we ate together as a family.
Because I aim to keep the volume concise, I have strict criteria as to which recipes make the cut. They have to be nutritious, speedy, tasty and simple to put together; classic, never-fail recipes that even the most elementary home cook can pull off. This tomato soup recipe was one of the first I wrote. With just a handful of simple pantry staples, a satisfying and economical meal can be ready in 30-minutes (including prep time). This soup also serves as a nice reprieve from all that we’ve indulged in over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s and will also be a refreshing insert (especially apt with its auspicious colour) amidst the upcoming Chinese New Year feasts.
This portion does nicely as lunch for my family of four, but it can easily be doubled or tripled for freezing, or to feed unexpected guests at the last minute. My little girl loves this soup now, and I hope she still will, when she inherits the recipe book in fifteen years.
“Cream” of Tomato
1 white onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tin cannellini beans, drained
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tin’s worth of home-made vegetable stock/ water
1 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
In a big pot, sauté chopped onion, celery and carrot in olive oil until softened.
Add minced garlic and sauté for a minute.
Pour in tinned tomatoes, and deglaze the pot. Add a tin’s worth of vegetable stock/water.
Add drained cannellini beans, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for at least 15min. (As the soup simmers, I like to slice up some hearty bread and cheese or leftover smoked ham/turkey to make toasties for dunking, and put together a vibrant, green salad.)
Using a hand-held blender, blitz soup till smooth. Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper at this point if necessary.
Serve hot, with good extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over top.