old-school tomato soup with cheese, olive, onion & rosemary toasties

‘Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory…’ and yes Annie is quite right, apparently the weather is about turn to mega-rainy-crap all throughout the country from today. (Actually I have gotten to know Annie very well over the last fifteen months – she has kindly sung while I’ve been shooting, cooking, editing, and (very loudly) enjoying a whisky in the evening). So, it feels like we’re allowed to make the most of wintry dishes for a little while longer, and this old-school tomato soup is a great, simple, satisfying dish. It is incredibly easy to make – essentially you just cook the onions for a bit then throw everything else in the pot for half an hour, then give it a whiz – but the depth of flavour is fabulously satisfying. Having cheesy toasties with tomato soup seems pretty much non-negotiable, and these ones crammed with caramelised onions, salty black olives and fresh rosemary are – can I say ‘next level’ – I don’t want to because I bloody hate that phrase, but they really are.

Soooo, in other news, my darling Pog celebrated his 22nd birthday in Melbourne yesterday. God, I do miss my lovelies, and never more so than on special occasions. Thank God for the gorgeous Will who spoilt Henry rotten with lovely gifts and a flash dinner out. I am so proud of how he has settled into his new job, but also that he has had the chance to let his hair down on occasion too – we all need a bit of balance! Excellent. Meanwhile Hoob is still hard at it at uni and with sidelines at work, enticing people to vote (he is outrageously well informed with regard to politics), and a hilarious audition yesterday for a TV commercial…more on that if he gets the job, I hope he does, he would be fabulous. He will be heading up at uni break so I will be in a state of high anticipation next week. The thought that both boys/men will be here, and Will too, for the book launch is about the most exciting thing I can imagine just now – the four of us haven’t been in the same room for a year…too long for me!!!

Anyhoo, I will stop blathering on and get back to work. This soup – easy, delicious, and perfect for gloomy, rainy weather.

Old-school tomato soup:

1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tins finely chopped tomatoes
2 tsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup cream
chopped parsley to garnish
1/4 cup Greek natural yoghurt to garnish
Cheese, onion, olive & rosemary toasties
3 tbsp butter
4 slices wholemeal, grainy bread
2/3 cup grated colby cheese
1/2 cup caramelised onions
10 black olives, pitted & roughly chopped

1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves

For the soup – heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add onion, season well with salt and pepper and cook over a medium low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add garlic, tomatoes, sugar, chilli, rosemary, tomato paste, stock and 1/4 cup cream and cook for 35 minutes. Use a stick whiz to blend or transfer to a food processor to puree. Loosen yoghurt with remaining cream and drizzle over soup and sprinkle with parsley to serve. Serves 2-3

For the toasties – butter one side of the four slices of bread. Divide cheese between two slices of bread (the unbuttered sides) and top with onions, olives, rosemary and bread ‘lids’. Cook in a frying pan over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes each side until golden, and the cheese is melted. Makes 2

 

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