It is easy enough to forget that one is in the tropics when there is a pot of this soup simmering away on stove, irrespective of the heat or chill of the day. With each purchase of vine tomatoes from the market comes a sudden longing for the bright cherry red liquid that accompanied our meals so often in winters of the past. Each sprinkle of dried thyme or oregano would only remind me of the pots of fresh herbs that I once had in my patio, basils bushy enough for weekly homemade pesto. In those hey days I didn’t bake my breads as down the road was Peckham’s, the all-in-one deli that sells artisan bread along side rare cheeses and what not. I loved going there, sometime just for a stroll and to nose about. A slice of ciabatta would accompany the soup and that would be a fulfilling meal on its own.
Now on reverse it is the bread baking that spur on more soups on the stove. Yes the tomatoes might not be as red and succulent, but sometimes we eat for memory sake, no? But one ingredient was changed from the norm. Instead of adding heavy cream to the soup, chickpeas are added for the creamy texture that complements this earthy, robust soup full of smoky flavour.
Soaked overnight and boiled until tender, it is a task when adding those chickpeas but fret not, the rest of this soup making steps are easy peasy.
A tray of tomatoes, cut into wedges are peppered, salted and herbed with a good douse of extra virgin olive oil, then roasted until almost charred. Sometimes I roasted the garlic too, that makes life so much easier as all I had to do is tip all the roasted goodness into a casserole and whizz away with a hand blender. Some days when I like being barefoot and housewifely in the kitchen, it is nice to saute the garlic with good quality olive oil, plenty of herbs and enjoy the aroma wafting through from the oven. Bliss!
My daughter takes after me, especially, or particularly when soups are concerned. She loves her soup, and each spoon that she hungrily savours brings joy. I usually lessen the amount of paprika, and omit the red chilli flakes to make it suitable for her, and only add those to my bowl later. Given the healthy boost and flavour that this soup delivers, count this in as kids’ recipe too.Happy weekend all!