Friday, September 5, 2014

The best tomato Soup Ever.

Another seven pounds of cherry tomatoes.
It's not often I see Simon smiling as he eats, normally he devours his food without comment until the end, however the tomato soup that I made earlier this week brought smiles and yums from him.
Add a few simple ingredients.
Normally when we have a glut of tomatoes I would either bottle them or make tomato puree, but I have run short of bottles and storage space so tomato soup it would have to be. A slight tweak to the recipe in 'Cranks Recipe Book' and we had the best tomato soup either of us have tasted.
End result, a lovely bowl of steaming soup.
For anyone who has a glut of tomato's and likes soup this is my adapted recipe.

2 oz of butter.
2 lb of Tomato's, cherry tomato's do not need peeling, larger ones probably do.
1 medium  potato, chopped into small cubes.
2 small sticks celery, finely chopped, you can use some of the leaves as well.
1 Medium onion, finely chopped.
2 decent size garlic cloves, chopped.
3 Bay leaves.
3/4 pints of veg or chicken stock
3/4 pints of whole milk and cream, half and half of each.
Freshly ground black pepper.
Sweat the chopped onion until soft and translucent. Do not allow to brown.
Add the rest of the chopped veg and stir so they have a covering of onion butter over them, add the tomato's, add the stock and bay leaves, bring to the boil then cover the pan and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add ground pepper and salt if needed, according to taste.
 Allow to cool then blend through a blender, return to pan and add the milk/cream, reheat and serve with either croutons or grated parmesan cheese.
Enjoy and Smile.

The second batch I have made has now been frozen with more to follow, we will enjoy this in the cold winter months.
Basket full of plums.
We have had our first real crop of Victoria plums, although the tree is five year old it produced seven pounds of delicious fruit for us, most of these I have bottled, ready for the winter.
Sweet corn free from marauding livestock.
We have also had a good harvest of Sweet Corn, most of which is being frozen. The last time I grew Sweet Corn in Ireland we still had cattle, Jersey cows in fact, they broke into the garden and ate every one of our precious crop, I rather gave up then.
Looking Good.
 In Spain we used to grow Maize for the goats and the Geese, but every year, either the goats or the geese or both would break into the plot and try to help themselves, there must be something in fresh maize and corn that really attracts animals to it. I'm just pleased that our donkeys have no access to our vegetable garden.
Last weekend we went to the last of the Secret gardens of Sligo, in fact there were two gardens open and we had planned on visiting the second one on  the Sunday, but the weather was awful, not the sort of day to even go out let alone go round a garden.  Still there is always next year to look forward to. The one that we did make it to was lovely,
          with a beautiful Japanese inspired pond,
Impressive onions and carrots.
as well as a very small but highly productive veg garden and lots of herbaceous beds. It was the first time that Katherine had opened her garden to the public and she said that she had found it a strain, I do hope that she continues to have visitors though, the whole garden was lovely, very well thought out and maintained.
Maddy relaxing.
The newest kitten Maddy has now settled in well and has won over all the other cats, so it is one big happy family, although sometimes a bit crazy when they all decide it's playtime.
  Reliability, this simple word, seems to mean different things to different people.
 When we lived in Catalonia we quickly learnt that unless it was car repairs never depend on a Spanish trade person to turn up when they said they would or keep to the price that they had quoted, or even do the job that they were supposed to be doing, and never employ a British xpat, especially if it involved building work! So many horror tales that we witnessed, I could fill a book. Consequently the Rumanians quickly became employed, did a good job, on time and cheaply.
In the UK there was a standing joke that if you wanted a plumber  find a Polish one, reliable, good workers and turn up when they say.
Here in Ireland we learnt many years ago that it was easier to do the job ourselves, and after one disaster too many we swore that we would never employ anyone to do a job that we could do, given time.
 If you try to get a builder they might come and give you a quote, but never at the time that they say they will be with you, not even the same day as they have said, if you are lucky it might be the same week.
 The past couple of months I have been trying to get a builder to do a couple of jobs for us. We thought that we had found one, recommended by a friend, good quote and a date was set, this came and went, plus a couple of weeks during which time I tried to contact him and left messages, none of which were replied to. In the end I gave up and set about finding someone else.
 In total we have had six quotes, five from Irish companies and one from an English guy who  two local Irish people highly recommended, not one of the Irish companies turned up on the appointed day. For the same job, the quotes varied in price by a massive 420%, clearly we were seen as a soft touch by some of them.
 The English chap not only turned up on the appointed day, he turned up exactly at the time he said he would be here. He was also the best quote, only by fifty euros, but the main thing is he was ON TIME!.
 No prizes for guessing who has been given the job. Hopefully by this time next week we will no longer have a roof that leaks and I will be able to decorate the breakfast room.
Speckled Wood Butterfly.



  1. Delicious, I love tomato soup. Happy to hear it had the Simon stamp of approval! Fingers crossed you get the roof sorted. What's the straw bale looking like these days? x

    1. I'm very fussy about soup, very rarely will I ever have it in a restaurant it is normally a big disappointment, but this Cranks recipe is the best!
      Work is still on going with the straw bale, we will get there in the end.

  2. Nice pic. We too have a good population of Speckled Wood and also Red Admiral. They all bright and new and 'just out of the packet'. Is there a 2nd hatch in September?

    1. Yes Matt, you would normally get the first hatch about March, followed by the later ones, Aug, Sept. Lots of Peacocks and Red Admirals. Gate Keepers are still around also the Tortoiseshells.

  3. I might give this recipe a try, it sounds great but will substitute the chicken stock of course ;-) Why are builders the world over so unreliable - it never ceases to surprise me in this day and age when work is so hard to come by - obvioulsy not for some.

  4. Hi Ian, yes I also use veg stock, I don't know how much difference chicken stock would make.
    At last we have a good builder, he turned up on time day and a half and the roof is fixed, needless to say we are giving him extra work, tiling the utility room is next, a job that got put on the long finger.