I recently acquired a copy of “Dusty Road – a taste of farm life and living in Zimbabwe” by Sarah Lilford. As well as having delicious (and mostly simple) recipes and beautiful photographs (of farm life, family members as well as dishes), there’s Sarah’s interesting family history and stories which make for fun reading. Being Zimbabwean, it took me back to the carefree days of my childhood and to the days when home-cooked meals and home-made jams were an every day affair. I could hear the bees humming in the Jacaranda flowers, feel the breeze before a thunderstorm caress my skin and I could smell my aunt’s freshly baked bread. To be honest, I felt quite homesick (and hungry!).
I am not one for recipe books (I tend to just chuck stuff together, stick with what I know and am not terribly adventurous in the kitchen), but I made a decision to try just one recipe from this book a month. If anything it will at least increase my culinary skills! I will share these recipes with you as I go along and hopefully inspire you to try them too – and perhaps order the book, which you should!
I love tomatoes and tomato soup, which is why this recipe was the first one I tried. It was a great success and totally delicious (there was enough for 4 servings and I scoffed the lot in 2 sittings).
Roast tomato and red pepper soup with bruschetta
(for the soup)
- 10 red tomatoes
- 3 red peppers
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- 1.5 litres chicken stock
- 2 tbsps brown sugar
- 3 tbsps tomato paste
- 300ml cream (optional)
(for the bruschetta)
- 1 baguette, cut into 1cm slices
- Olive oil
- 6 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 sprig chopped rosemary
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Cut the red peppers into big chunks. Put them in a baking tray, skin side up. Grill for about 10 minutes, remove skins.
Blanch the tomatoes and peel off the skins. Place tomatoes, peppers and everything except stock and tomato paste in a baking tray.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are really soft and mushy.
Mix stock with the tomato paste, add and cook for a further 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, cool and whizz.
For the bruschetta, brush the bread with the olive oil, garlic and herb mix and grill until brown.
Just before serving, bring the soup to the boil, season and add cream. Garnish with bruschetta drizzled with basil pesto.
I didn’t add cream to my soup and it was still rich and creamy. I also didn’t drizzle basil pesto as I didn’t have any in the house. I did struggle a little to peel the skins off the peppers, but have since been told that if you pop the grilled pieces of pepper into a plastic bag and let it sweat for a bit, that usually helps. I shall try that next time!
Buy a copy of Dusty Road