This recipe came about as I struggled with creating an elegant soup, that was hearty and filling but NOT chunky. There is a place in this world for chunky soups – most definitely, but I was determined to create a soup appetizer that would be different in it’s presentation and really comes out tops on flavour.

On a cold wintry evening, there is nothing quite so special as a well made tomato soup. I’ve tried different ways of balancing out the sharpness of fresh tomatoes and bringing out the richness in them.

Finally, I cracked it and last night, I made this wonderful soul warming soup – classy yet casual and with a real mouthwatering combination of ingredients. I refer to it as ‘Mexican’ toppings as that is exactly what the flavour reminds me of…and best of all, these are all store cupboard ingredients – so easy to make and trust me, you’ll hear all the praises! Enjoy!

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Method

Heat the grill setting in the oven to high.

Place the tinned tomatoes and the fresh tomatoes in an oven proof dish, along with the garlic, the olive oil and the mixed herbs.

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Place in the oven for roasting for at least 35 minutes, taking care to frequently turn the tomatoes every 10 minutes or so. Once the tomatoes are roasted, ( you should have this heavenly caramelising smell in the kitchen by now!), place them in a blender with the hot water. Blend until smooth and silky.

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Place in a large saucepan and add the chicken stock cube, the sugar, the Spanish paprika, the cayenne pepper and the double cream. Check for the seasoning by making sure there is a nice balance between sweet and sour and slight depth with the paprika and cayenne.

Boil for around 10 minutes and then switch of until you need to heat it up before serving.

Five minutes before serving, place the sweetcorn and the spring onion in a shallow pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper and stir fry on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the spring onion has softened and the corn is nice and hot.

Heat up the soup. If you find it has thickened too much, don’t be afraid of loosening with some hot water.

Ladle the hot tomato soup into wide soup bowls. Sprinkle over the avocado, the corn and spring onion mix and finish with a tbs of grated cheese over the top. For adults that like their chillis, slice up the red chilli very finely and sprinkle those on last!

Serve piping hot with some hot hot garlic bread. Mmmm – deliciousness in a bowl!

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