When it comes to tomato soup, my reaction over a lifetime has been a rather ungracious 'eeeeeeiuw' (with the exception of gazpacho)... so imagine the pleasant surprise that was in store the first time I tasted this one. Little wonder its original 1970s title was 'An Exceptional Tomato Soup'! For, that it is.
As part of the Human Brochure experience last October, a group of food writers and their partners dined at the terrace cafe at Capital Wines Cellar Door in Gundaroo and it was there that we all tasted this exquisite cream of tomato soup. It was served in a small vintage enamel mug with a slice of Hobbit Farm goat's cheese toast drizzled with La Barre lemon infused extra virgin olive oil. It was one of those occasions when I simply had to know the recipe. Jen Mooney, owner of Capital Wines, was kind enough to advise that her recipe was based around one in The Terrace Times Australian Cookbook by Helen Arbib (circa 1970s). On hearing about my search for the receipt, a twitter friend (who is an avid cook) came to the rescue and enthusiastically emailed it to me... and now I'm delighted to share my version with you. It's quick, simple and truly delicious, but please note, it's also very rich, so you might consider serving smaller portions than usual.
CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
2 x 425g cans peeled and chopped tomatoes, juice included
1 x 500g tomato puree or passata
a chicken or vegetable stock cube dissolved in a 425g can of hot water (or that quantity of fresh stock)
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
scant 1/4 cup brandy, maybe less
1 cup pouring cream
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water, extra
fresh basil, to garnish
salt and pepper, optional, to taste
sliced toasted baguette, to serve
Combine the peeled chopped tomatoes and juice with the passata and the stock in a saucepan. Puree briefly with a stick blender, until smooth. Stir in the brown sugar, lemon juice and brandy. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, then lower the heat and stir in the cream and the cornflour that you have dissolved in the water. Simmer for a further 1-2 minutes. Serve garnished with chopped or torn basil leaves and a slice of toasted baguette. Serves 4-6.
Tell me, are you a fan of tomato soup? What foods usually make you turn your nose up and when have your taste buds been pleasantly surprised?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.