• 500g ripe cherry tomatoes
• A large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
• The best extra virgin olive oil you can find
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
• 500g or 2 large handfuls of stale good-quality bread
Prick the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove of garlic and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with additional virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put them in a roasting tray and cook in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 for about 20 minutes. The reason for doing this is so that their flavor becomes strong and concentrated.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot and add the remaining garlic and the basil stalks. Stir around and gently fry for a minute until softened. Put in your tinned tomatoes, then fill the tin with water and add that. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Tear the bread up into thumb-sized pieces and include them to the pan. Mix well and season to taste. Tear in the basil leaves and let the soup sit on a low heat for 10 minutes. By this time your roasted tomatoes will be done, with juice bursting out of their skins, so eliminate them from the tray, remembering to scrape all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom. Pour them into the soup with all the juices, basil and oil from the tray.
Give the soup a good stir you're looking to get a thick, silky, porridgey texture, so feel free to adjust it with a little water. Then remove it from the heat and add 6 or 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Divide between your bowls and serve with a little extra basil torn over the top if you like. The most important thing with this soup is that you have a wonderfully intense sweet tomato basil flavor.
Beef Soup Stock:
1 pound of round of beef, 2 quarts of water, 2 small new carrots or 1/2 of an old carrot, 1/2 pound of beef bones, 2 small potatoes ,1 onion, 1 tomato fresh or canned Parsley.
Boil the beef, bones, and vegetables in two quarts of water over a slow fire adding pepper and salt. Skim occasionally, and after two hours add two tablespoons of sherry; then strain through fine soup strainer or cheese cloth. This is the basis of all the following soups, except when otherwise stated.
To make this stock richer, add a turkey leg to above receipt; boil one and a half hours, then add one-half a pound of finely chopped beef. Cook for half an hour longer, then strain.
To make meat jelly, add a little gelatine to the soup stock 5 minutes before straining.
To give a excellent dark color to the stock, include a few drops of "caramel," which is organized in the following manner:
Put three tablespoons of granulated sugar into a saucepan with a little water, and until the sugar has become dark and reddish; then add a little more water and boil again until the sugar is melted. Strain and pour into a bottle when the caramel will keep perfectly for several weeks.
Feel good Chicken Broth:
Put your chicken, celery, carrot and bacon in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter, skimming the white residue off the top every now and again. Add rosemary sprigs, shitake mushrooms and sherry for the last ten minutes, and then remove the chicken from the pan. It should be wholly cooked, and will be great for salads or sandwiches or for tearing into slivers to put into the soup. Season the soup with salt and ladle it through a sieve into bowls, trying not to disrupt it too much as you want to keep it reasonably clear. Put in chicken slivers and a few mushrooms to each bowl and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. The completed thing should be a kinda clear consommé.
English onion soup with sage and cheddar:
If you have the opportunity, get hold of as several different types of onion for this soup as you can you need about 1kg in total. Sweat them gently and you’ll be amazed at all the flavors going on.
Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook gradually for 50 minutes, without coloring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes, your onions will become golden and soft. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the base. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavor, so don’t be tempted to speed this bit up.
When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, include the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavor.
Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it’s perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.
Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn! When the cheese is bubbling, carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table.