I often feel that October brings with it a sigh of relief. Having spent the summer trying to embellish barbecues and parties with beautiful looking salads and homemade falafel, I can now return to my favourite one-pot-wonders because we are suddenly all in scarfs again. Spending more time indoors no longer comes with that small voice of guilt, as the rain pelts it down outside and my kitchen offers warmth and the promise of comfort food.
This rich tomato soup can be bulked out with red lentils before blitzing if you're not a bread n' butter kinda person, but still want a substantial meal.
6 large tomatoes on the vine
1 red pepper, quartered
6 large cloves of garlic (skins on)
1 large onion, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Big handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
Olive or coconut oil
Worcester sauce or 1 tsp miso
Salt and pepper
Set the oven to 180C.
Lay the tomatoes, pepper and garlic cloves on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Season well with salt and pepper and toss so that it's all coated, then roast for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large pot and gently fry the onions over a low heat. The slower this is done, the sweeter and more flavoursome they will be - they should be translucent and sticky-looking. Set aside until the tomatoes are done.
Pop the garlic out of its skin and add it to the pot with the pepper and tomatoes. Bring it back up to a medium heat and add the chopped tomatoes and stock (if you are adding lentils then add at this point). Stir well and leave to simmer until it has reduced by about a centimetre. Season well and add an optional dash of Worcester sauce or miso for depth of flavour.
Blitz it up and finally stir in the fresh basil. I like to serve with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.