The rain is pouring down outside and all I can hear is the drum of drops hitting the windows as I begin to write this week’s recipe.
Both the terriers are looking at me with disdain because we haven’t ventured out for our morning stroll and I’m putting it off hoping for the downpour to recede.
Our menu at this time of year is lighter with fresh salads, more fish and griddled vegetables, but with the weather the way it has been, I’ve put a soup on the menu. There’s nothing more comforting when its miserable outside than a bowl of soup and this one has plenty of summer in it. Slowly-roasted red peppers, plum tomatoes with a hint of garlic and sage. Enough to comfort you but light enough for a summer dish. I’ve added cocoa beans for texture, but you could leave these out or substitute with pasta.
When buying red peppers for this soup look for the round, thick-fleshed variety and make sure they are firm and blemish-free. Rub them in olive oil and bake in a low oven (140C/gas 2) turning every 15 minutes for one hour. Allow to cool before de-seeding and peeling ready for the soup.
Red pepper soup
6 slow roasted red peppers (skinned and de-seeded)
3 plum tomatoes
2 onions chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
1 leek chopped
Teaspoon tomato paste
800ml vegetable stock
50ml olive oil
150g cooked cocoa beans
12 sage leaves
1. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan on a low heat.
2. Add the onion, garlic, celery and leek and cook for five minutes without colouring.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook for another five minutes then add the tomato paste.
4. Pour in the stock and add the roasted peppers.
5. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 minutes.
6. While you are waiting, shallow fry the sage until crispy and drain on tissue.
7. Liquidise the soup and pass through a fine sieve.
8. Pour into bowls add the cooked coco beans and top with sage leaves
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk). Call 01243 377914.