Friday, April 30, 2010
OK, so I lied, but somehow A confession of somebody who cooks dinner then write about it just doesn't have the same ring to it. But the confession is good, I promise. Are you sitting down?
I don't like tomatoes. It's true. Forever I've been looking at beautiful photos of tomatoes, and trying, no, forcing myself to like them. Except I don't. It's not that I hate them. They're perfectly good as a paste on pizza, or in a hearty lamb shank stew, or semi-dried as part of an antipasto platter. But as the main event? I'm unconvinced. To me they always seem a bit lacking. In taste, in smell, in texture. But, like us South Africans say, die hoop beskaam nie, which loosely translates into hope will never let you down. I'm always on the lookout for nice tomato recipes, and have quite a few on my to-cook list, but mostly I'm disappointed. I just cannot get enthusiastic about them like here and here.
Admittedly, my tomatoes come from the local supermarket, as somehow having a Little Girl largely interferes with early morning trips to the farmer's market, and I realise they're not half as good as ones grown with love and care, preferably by yourself. I have bought some lovely heirloom tomato seeds, and will plant them next season, but in the meantime Maxi's will have to do.
One of my recipes with tomatoes as one of the main ingredients is this pumpkin, tomato and orange soup. I found it in some magazine, made it, loved it, and wrote it down in my little recipe book I'm planning to have dozens of and people will fight over when I die. It's quick, easy, healthy, and delicious, a rare combination indeed. You'll note that tomato is just one of the flavours here rather than the star, and is made with one of my pantry staples: tinned tomatoes (the horror!). So I can't really call this a tomato recipe. But it's better than nothing. I'll always be looking out for that elusive tomato dish to change me into a devoted fan forever, but in the meantime I'll be having this soup. Hope you enjoy it too.
Roasted pumpkin, tomato and orange soup
2 - 4 cups pumpkin pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
2 - 4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon dried chilli, or to taste
2 celery sticks with leaves, chopped
juice and zest of 1 orange
two 410g tins of tomatoes
3 cups orange or chicken stock
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C.
Place the pumpkin in a roasting tin, coat with olive oil and brown sugar, and roast for 20 minutes or until done.
Heat some oil in a saucepan and cook onion, garlic and ginger until soft. Add the celery and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add the orange juice and zest, tomatoes with juice, stock, and pumpkin with any juices left in the pan.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
If you want a completely smooth soup, puree everything in your blender or with one of those nifty stick blenders. Otherwise remove some of the bits from the saucepan, and return after you've pureed the rest.
Serve and enjoy.