This week I am greatly grateful to the loved ones in my life. Friends, family, the other half, clients and gorgeous puppies alike have made a rather frustrating, pain filled week one full of laughter, hugs, home cooked meals and spontaneous dancing. I am so grateful for the strength you have given me. Its a long time lesson I have learnt to let down barriers and let people in. What a gift I have given myself to have learnt that lesson. For those of you out there that also struggle with this .. I encourage you to let the sunshine in.
Now a little bit less ‘hippy heavy’… with spring (and sunshine !) now here my mind just keeps wondering to one thing … summer tomatoes. As a gardener and plant-based loving foodie they are literally the highlight of my year … Not to mention the health benefits. Tomatoes are full of vitamins like B6, C, K,and potassium. They even have some muscle loving magnesium too ! The phytonutrients in tomatoes have been linked to lower rates of heart disease and cancer. So definitely a perfect fruit/veg to enjoy.
Sadly, these days I cannot eat tomatoes everyday … my poor tummy and joints don’t allow that much nightshade in my diet (much to my reluctant realisation). Yet of course they are my favourite. Nothing beats a home grown summer tomato … honestly my living in Italy has spoilt me for life !
Here in Australia though we are lucky .. even in the spring you can get a decent tomato … all be it a little more pricey .. and yes it pays to be picky. I always keep them on the window sill to ripen even further in the sun … and whether in my mind or not, I am sure they taste better for it. This soup though has been born from a favourite in possibly the most used cookbook I own (Green Kitchen Stories), a lot of experimentation and a very desperate me to put the taste of summer in a still hearty spring soup !
The real key this spring soup is to have those early tomatoes nice and ripe ( I go for the smaller ones and organic where possible) , paired with the best of late winters’ cauliflowers and you are still meeting your seasonal needs … !! I think this one would also work well in early autumn to use up that last load of less than pretty tomatoes and early season cauliflower. Either way it is delicious, easy and relatively budget friendly. Whilst being gluten free, dairy free and vegan and having a decent hit of protein. Who said eating well had to be boring ?!
Spring Roasted Tomato, Chickpea and Cauliflower Soup
1 kg ripe tomatoes, halved
1/2 cauliflower, cut in to small florets
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 heaped tsp of smoked paprika
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with a knife
2 tbsp olive oil
5 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves picked
Large Handful of Basil, Leaves picked and stalks chopped
1 tbsp and apsv 1/2 lemon juiced
1 can of cherry/roma tomatoes (best quality you can afford )
Chilli infused olive oil (optional)
2-3 cups of water.
Himalayan Salt and Pepper.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees (400 Fahrenheit/gas mark 6)
Add cauliflower, tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic, basil stalks, oregano and garlic. Season and toss well with olive oil.
Pop in oven for an hour or until tomatoes and cauliflower are blistered.
Add can of tomatoes, apsv and then blitz in food processor until smooth. Add in water until desired consistency.
Freeze, refrigerate or gently heat with half the reserved basil. Taste and Season.
Serve with reserved basil, chilli oil and sourdough smeared in a good butter or smashed avocado. Yum !