I took a trip to town yesterday. Gill had invited me to join her on Monday when she went to Kirkwall and Jennifer had asked me to go with her on Tuesday. I checked the weather and added in the factor that Tuesday was likely to offer more fresh foods on the shop shelves. So, I passed on Monday and went yesterday instead.
What a cracker of a day! We really chose the right one and the sun was shining as we reached Kirkwall. I actually walked around town without my fleece jacket. We stayed dry all day and the wind was not really noticeable at all in town. Today has seen a return to our normal weather. Ugh.
I took my knitting to town and made some progress on the ferry, though not a great deal as there was much backwards working due to inattention. Jennifer was working on a beautiful lace scarf worked in an alpaca yarn that she has spun and dyed herself. It’s a beautiful thing. On the way home we had Norma for company and she was knitting on a lovely Cockleshell scarf in Alpaca. It was a very knitterly voyage. Norma was able to assist me when I found that my cable needle was lost and her crochet hook stood in as a make-do.
There was far more shopping in my bags on the return home than I had ever intended to do! It was so easy to pile up the trolley, knowing that we had a car with us instead of just my shopping trolley. Thus I found myself today with an over abundance of fresh veg. I don’t know about you but the first place that my mind wanders to in such a situation is soup. Today is a Fast day so soup was a doubly good idea.
I had these to hand
and some lovely fresh
leading me to gravitate towards one of my favourites – a lovely cheering bowl of Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper soup. Perfect in this weather and on lazy days when tired after a ferry ride to Kirkwall and back – this soup is so easy.
I quarter some onion, usually red, top and core the peppers and cut into large chunks and remove the tomatoes from the vine (quantities based on whim and completely unimportant IMO – I simply cook what I have.) These I put in a heavy roasting tin, adding some garlic (unpeeled) and an (optional) chilli. Normally I drizzle liberally with olive oil but today I was minimising calories and measured a meagre tablespoonful (15 ml). Season with freshly ground salt and pepper or, as I did today, use smoked sea salt flakes (successfully sourced in Tesco yesterday.)
Pop the tin into a hot oven and roast until the veg are pleasantly charred about the edges, the onions and garlic are soft, and the juices have begun to run.
Mine failed today to gain the degree of charring that I like and I put this down to the paucity of olive oil plus also perhaps the willing way in which the tomatoes gave up their juices. Really, the pan looked less than inspiring when I took it from the oven, usually it looks far more appetising
Now all that remains to be done is to transfer the veg to another pan (and you don’t even need to do this if you don’t wish to, just work in the roasting tray) and squeeze the now-soft garlic innards from their skins and add the pulp to the veg. You can add the whole chilli at this stage if the notion appeals to you. If you don’t enjoy a lot of fire, hold it back – you can remove the seeds prior to adding it to the blend or chop the whole chilli into pieces and add a piece at a time, tasting until you get your desired hotness. Me, I hoy the whole thing in.
Pour the juices from the pan into the saucepan with the veg, rinsing the roasting tin with hot water or stock to get all the sticky goodness and flavour out. Add to your pan for blending. Whizz it all up with a stick blender and aim for your preferred consistency. Normally I like lumpy bumpy soups but this one I enjoy smooth and velvety.
Now, taste and adjust seasonings, return to the heat until ready to eat.
Normally at this re-heating stage I add two mighty dollops of Mascarpone and then dish up and serve with freshly-baked flatbreads on the side. Today being Fast day I left those components out and added instead some cooked Chickpeas for added low-calorie nutrition. I blended in a tablespoon of paprika and added chopped flat leaf parsley to serve – these to compensate for the lesser depth of flavour resulting from cutting back on the oil and leaving out the stock.