Friday, 30 January 2015

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

My food philosophy is growing and changing all the time. And the one thing I keep coming back to is variety. You can eat all the "superfoods" in the world but the true key is diversity. A wide range of whole foods with a wide spectrum of differing nutrients and benefits is key. The more colourful your diet, the better, in my opinion. I've dabbled with going free-from in various ways and I think the best way to go is to listen to your body. I like being vegetarian and am mainly dairy-free but I really don't feel the need for labels. Just be yourself and do the best you can for your body!

Sometimes I think it's good to go back to basics. On this blog I often try and introduce new flavours and I'm always on the lookout for the next nutrient-dense foodstuff to tickle the tastebuds. Although this is certainly no bad thing, I can sometimes overlook the simple things. There are culinary classics that you can go back to time and time again without them failing you. This is one of them. The trusty Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup. And trust me, if there's one version of this recipe to keep on standby - it's this one. 

The tomatoes I used were a few different kinds; some Plum, Pomodorino, a few Vittoria. I'd be inclined to suggest using on-the-vine tomatoes as I think they have more flavour than the lighter-coloured off-the-vine ones. 

To serve 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter you'll need:

1kg Tomatoes
3 cloves of Garlic
1 med white Onion
1 green Chilli
1 tsp Celery Salt
3-4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 handfuls of Basil leaves
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Firstly set your oven to 200°c. Add the tomatoes whole to a glass baking dish, pour over 2-3 tbsp of the olive oil then sprinkle with the celery salt and coarse black pepper. Put in the oven to cook for at least 45 minutes. Turn them mid-way through and by the end they should be charring on top, as well as being ridiculously plump and bursting with juiciness. This recipe calls for no additional stock and the liquid all comes from the tasty Toms!

Dice the onion, slice the garlic and chilli then set aside. Pick your basil leaves discarding the stalks and throw these in the bottom of your blender. If you're using a hand blender just set aside until ready to blend.

When the tomatoes have been roasting for nearly 40 minutes heat the remaining olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add the onion and sweat for 5 minutes on a low-med heat. Then add the chilli and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and pour into the saucepan. Mix together well then transfer the mix into the blender, pouring over the whole basil leaves. Blend well for 2-3 minutes until smooth then back into the pan. Taste then season before serving steaming hot... I served mine with Cheese on toast for the ultimate in comfort food (it was soooo good!) but you can use your favourite croutons or dippers!

Such a delicious and incredibly simple meal to make. There was a little left over and I plan to use it as pasta sauce tonight with wholewheat fusilli and a little "cheesy" nutritional yeast! Nom nom nom :)

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Happy New Year to all. What are your new years resolutions? Mine is to read more. I often find that my input is social-media based and I'd like to break the habit. I'd like to read and learn more to increase my knowledge and broaden my horizons in 2015.

I'd like to say a massive THANK YOU to Steve of The Circus Gardeners Kitchen for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award (see Rules below). What a fantastic start to 2015! I adore Steve's blog which is "Seasonal Vegetarian Cooking with Side Helping of Food Politics"... he is a very knowledgeable chap!

Following on from this I'd like to nominate a few of my favourite blogs:

The Flexitarian - "Let's talk about Food, Health, Ethics & the Environment"... really feel like this blog is on my wavelength! Very inspiring stuff!

Curiously Conscious - Fab healthy living & lifestyle blog which covers everything from mindfulness to composting with some great recipes along the way.

In My Bowl - Alexandra is a real inspiration & I love her #GoddessVibes series founded on "the premise of unconditional self-love, positive thinking, and holistic and natural living".

SmarterFitter - I've followed Monica Shaw for some time on Social Media (especially love her Instagram feed) & always feel inspired by her pro-active, health-driven outlook on life. 

Three things that inspired me most this week are:

a) Visiting my grandparents last week filled me with love and happiness. They'll have been married for 60 years next year and I'm so proud of them! They always encourage, support and inspire me.

b) My husband Benjamin. I've had mobility issues for 2 years now as a result of a hip problem. I genuinely do not know what I'd have done without Ben. His constant love, support and patience is inspiring. 

c) Dozens of healthy eating blogs kicking my ass for the food (and drink) crimes committed over Christmas. The #healthyliving online community reminds me to treat myself well.

The Rules:
1. As the recipient you should thank the person who nominated you by linking to his/her blog and displaying the award logo;
2. Nominate up to 15 other blogs. Link their blogs and inform them about the nomination;
3. Share three things that inspired you the most this week.