Autumnal red, roasted tomato soup

Even in my advanced state of pregnancy I still can't resist bargains. Poor Mr B was roped into joining me at the supermarket as I can't even wheel a trolley straight without wincing in pain. Bloody sciatica. Anyway, having Mr B drive the trolley was bliss. It meant I could concentrate on procuring bargain after bargain. Charlie also enjoyed his supermarket trip as Mr B drives faster than me and plays skidding games in the egg aisle. Extreme trolley stunts for the amusement of a toddler. 

No bargain makes me happier than a fruit or veg find. I think it's the fact you have to act quickly to make the most of it. Given I'm on maternity leave I take my 'stress kicks' where I can get them. (Hell, sometimes I leave for aqua tots 10 minutes before it starts and that's without putting our cossies on under our clothes first.) Anyway, as luck would have it I managed to find two large bags of vine tomatoes bagged up for quick sale, all ripe and red and juicy. For £1 we took home 40 tomatoes. Now to do something exciting with them. 

I know that lots of peeps have a recipe for tomato soup, and let's face it, it's not rocket science, but hey... it tastes homely and good and makes me think of kicking leaves for some reason. All a bit CBeebies. Plus it's easy. 

- 40 tomatoes chopped in half
- a splash of olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 celery stick relieved of mud and slugs and roughly chopped
- water, from the tap

Take the halved tomatoes, with skin on (I cannot be bothered to skin tomatoes though I am sure the end result would be smoother if you did. Let's rename the soup 'rustic' as way of explanation) and pop seeded side up on baking trays. Artistically drizzle olive oil over them, then add salt and pepper. Pop in an over for around 8 hours on Gas 1. Needless to say, we went out whilst the tomatoes were doing their sun blushed shrivelling act.

Once suitably shrivelled pop the tomatoes and the oily juice they've produced into a large saucepan and put in the fridge. At least overnight, 24 hours if possible. They seem to produce more juice when left to sit and weep. 

When you're ready for your soup fry the onions and celery in a splash of the oil from the tomato mixture until soft. I leave the lid on and keep the heat low. The smell should remind you of Heinz, but fear not, it isn't that sweet. Then add the tomato mix from the fridge and let the pan get nice and warm, but don't boil. Add half a pint of tap water, stir, remove from the heat and blend with a hand held blender. Check the consistency. I'm more a purée fan than thin consommé adorer, but add whatever amount of water suits you, remembering that the more you add, the more you dilute the flavour. 

Heat through and give it a final blend just before you serve. This soup has some texture but I like that. You could peel and de-seed the tomatoes to remove the texture if you so wish. You could also add some fresh basil or some chilli, depending on your disposition. 

This soup serves one Mr B, one vegetarian mother in law, one allotment owning father in law and ensures there's a portion for the freezer and of course a little cup full for Charlie too. Perfect. 
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