Ick ick ick! (Not this dinner) but this WEATHER! It’s completely just hideous in London right now. Middle of august, 18 degrees, constant drizzle or fierce downpours, a chilly old wind and it’s just nasty. I wouldn’t care so much if it wasn’t my mums wedding this Saturday or if I wasn’t going camping straight after that. Why, England, why!!
Humpf. Anyway, at least when the weather is miserable, you can tailor your food to suit your mood. I needed summery flavours and something healthy but eating a salad or similar feels depressing in these conditions. So a soup we have, but indeed one full of the flavours of summer. Fragrant fennel and basil, warm with a tiny touch of chilli and smoked paprika, ripe sweet tomatoes, a little splash of wine and some garlic. Served with some big, delicious grilled prawns on a skewer (to dunk and dip), this soup was exactly what I needed and wanted. A small relief :-)
You will need:
1 white onion, roughly chopped
2 fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
150ml white wine
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 chicken or veg stock cube
1 tspn chilli flakes
1 tspn smoked paprika
10 basil leaves
1 tspn or so of sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 – Heat a little oil in a deep pan and add the onion. Cook for five minutes or so then add the fennel. Cook for 10 or so minutes until softened and lightly golden.
2 – Stir in the garlic and bay leaves, then the wine. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes.
3 – Add the paprika, basil, sugar and chilli and season to taste. Add the stock cube and enough hot water to cover the softened veg by a centimetre or so.
4 – Simmer the soup for 20 minutes then blend until smooth. Return to the heat and stir in lemon juice to taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.
5 – Serve with extra basil leaves, olive oil and a skewer of grilled tiger prawns per person.