Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup (4)

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I am excited about this soup as it really has a deep tomato flavor. It is made with canned fire roasted tomatoes (so often it is difficult to find really ripe, juicy and tasty tomatoes otherwise I would have used them) and sun-dried tomatoes. I substituted roast garlic instead of the usual chopped garlic. Roasted garlic is much less intense and sweeter. Each clove turns to a paste in the roasting process.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

TO ROAST THE GARLIC

1 head of garlic

1 tsp. of olive oil

Cut the top of the garlic head off so that you can see the individual cloves. If there are some cloves that are smaller and clustered towards the bottom of the head you can cut their tops off individually.

Remove the outer layer(s) of skin.

Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and slowly pour 1 tsp.  of oil over the cloves making sure each one is covered or brush them with a basting  brush.

Wrap up the foil and place in oven for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, let cook slightly then remove the garlic from the clove with the end of a teaspoon and set aside until needed.

FOR THE SOUP (MINUS ROASTED GARLIC)

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 onion – finely chopped

2 x 14.5 oz. cans diced and fire roasted tomatoes

2 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes – cut into little pieces

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tbsp. fresh basil plus a little extra for garnish – cut into fine strips

4 cups chicken/veg. broth

Heat the seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let soften and slightly brown.

Then add the roasted garlic, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, basil and broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree soup in a food processor or use a hand held blender.

Serve in individual soup bowls garnished with fresh basil.

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Prosciutto and Blueberry Salad Sprinkled with Nuts (serves 4)

Prosciutto and Blueberry Salad with Sprinkled Nuts (serves 4)

Based this on a great little salad I had in Covent Garden, London recently. I wandered into a small French restaurant and found that there was little to eat (for me) on the menu so I was on my way out when the waitress said they could accommodate my needs so I stayed (and they did a wonderful job and I was so grateful).

Take some lettuce/baby spinach/mixed leaves.

Tear up some prosciutto (or not if you want vegetarian/vegan)

Cut some baby tomatoes into quarters

A few sun-dried tomatoes cut into little pieces

Take a handful of blueberries

Crush some walnuts

Make a balsamic dressing – 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp. extra  virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place everything in a salad bowl and toss well with balsamic vinaigrette.