Tomato soup

It seems today is the last day of Summer. Tomorrow, it will rain and the temperature will drop down; next thing we know, snow will be here and we will all be wearing fluffy thing around our ears. It might be my last chance to post this (cold) tomato soup.

I came across many different versions of tomato soups: my Mother’s (with potatoes), my nanny’s (with loads of potatoes, croutons and a poached egg), Maria de Lourdes Modesto‘s (with rice), the German way (with cabbage), the Swiss way (boil the tomatoes to death and then add an equal amount in volume of cream), the Austrian way (as before, plus pumpkin seed oil), the Spanish way (called gazpacho and eaten cold. In fact, God forbids it’s served warm) …  And then, there is this one, the mean tomato soup Yotam Ottolenghi‘s Mother used to do.  I took the liberty of replacing the coriander by manjericão (Ocimum basilicum), better known as Portuguese basil. Not food snobbery: I actually have it growing on a pot, courtesy of P. and D.

Tomato soup


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 400ml tin chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 slice sourdough bread
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra to finish (I used Portuguese basil)
  • Salt and black pepper


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and sauté, stirring often, for five minutes, until translucent. Add the cumin and garlic, and fry for two minutes, then add the stock, both fresh and tinned tomatoes, sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, adding the bread halfway through. Add the coriander, then pulse-blitz the soup a few times to break down the tomatoes a bit – you want them a little coarse and chunky. (This soup should be quite thick, but add a little water to thin it down if you prefer.) Serve drizzled with oil and garnished with fresh coriander.

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