I’m terrible at being on my own. Seriously. If I didn’t have a cat I would have to enlist a parade of friends and family to come and check on me every half an hour because I just don’t know what to do with myself. I’ll happily watch hours of Food Network (not an exaggeration, sadly), but as soon as it moves from Triple-D to Restaurant Impossible I am out.
I got a lot of housework done this weekend is what I’m saying. I even secured and adorned our newly mounted dining room shelf:
Anyway, the upshot of me being on my own is that I don’t need to cater to Isla’s requirements; I don’t mind doing it at all, but it’s nice sometimes to just think about yourself.
Or so I’ve heard.
With a wife who’s allergic to peppers, it’s easy to forget how delicious they can be – so I whipped up this hecka tasty soup to remind myself. Lunches for days, you guys.
Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes
Large saucepan with lid; roasting tray, lined with greaseproof; chopping board and knife; jug; wooden spoon; whizzy-whizzy-let’s-get-busy equipment (e.g. stick blender).
- 4 red peppers
- 2 beef tomatoes (or 4-6 large salad tomatoes)
- 1 red onion
- 1 vegetable stock cube (in 700ml boiling water)
- 10 basil leaves (+ small leaves for garnish, if you like)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste/puree
- 1.5 tbsp garlic & herb oil (or regular oil + 2 cloves garlic)
- 1-2 tsp paprika
- Salt & pepper
- Turn your oven to 200C and get those veggies prepped. Peel and chop the onion into chunks, then add to the lined pan. Give the tomatoes a quick wash and remove the green stems, then chop into chunks and toss in with the onion. The peppers are, in my view, the easiest bit: push down into the green stem with your thumbs until it pops in, then tear the pepper in half – the stem and seeds should all come out as one, and any excess seeds can be shaken out. Tear the pepper into chunks – no need to chop! – and add to the pan with the other veggies. Drizzle over the oil, add a generous amount of salt & pepper (and the garlic cloves, chopped, if using), mix with your hands (or a spoon) then pop into the oven for around 30 minutes.
- Once everything’s nice and soft and starting to char, pop the kettle on and get your pan on a low heat – pour all the veg (and juices!) into your pot and admire the frankly lush colours. In a jug, combine the stock cube and tomato puree with around 700ml boiled water, then pour it over the veg, adding paprika and a little more salt and pepper. Put the lid on and let it simmer for around 10 minutes.
- Layer your basil leaves and roll them up tightly into a cigar shape. Slice as thinly as possible and set aside. Congratulations! You’ve just done a good old-fashioned chiffonade. Whizz up your soup until it’s nice and smooth, then stir through the chopped basil. Garnish with a little extra basil, if you fancy.
This couldn’t be easier, and it’s one of the healthiest soups I’ve ever made. Since making this I’ve turned some of the leftovers into pasta sauce (with a little tuna and blue cheese – random but delicious) and there are plenty of other ways you can jazz it up. You can add red chilli or dried chilli flakes for spice, or whizz up a little more basil with some olive oil and drizzle over the top for a bit of zing. The world is your oyster! Except soup-based. The world is your seafood chowder, maybe?
I’ll work on it and get back to you.