We're off to a Bavarian soirée tonight, advertised on the flyer as: ambiance Tyrolienne avec Magalie la Yodleuse (a Tyrolean atmosphere with Maggie the yodeller), where for €17 a head we can eat choucroute (sour cabbage) and drink bladder-deforming quantities of beer.
Things have advanced on the roof and I promise to bring you some photos in a couple of days. In the meantime, the tomatoes keep coming so here's a recipe for roasted tomato soup with basil purée.
3 lb/1.35 kg ripe tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, left whole and unpeeled
1 oz/25 g basil leaves
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp caster sugar
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 tsp sundried tomato paste
25 fl oz/750 ml vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Skin the tomatoes by pouring boiling water on them, leave for 1-2 minutes then slip off the skins.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange on a baking tray, cut side up and top each half with a basil leaf. Place the garlic cloves on the tray too, leaving their skins on. Then drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle on the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour at 370°F/190°C or until the edges of the tomatoes are slightly blackened.
3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry the onion and celery for 5 minutes until soft. Add the tomato paste and stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Scrape the tomatoes and any juice and the garlic pulp (skins removed) into a food processor, add the stock mixture and whiz to a purée then sieve to remove the pips.
5. Just before serving make the basil purée. Strip the leaves into a mortar, sprinkle them with half a teaspoon of salt, then bash the leaves down with the pestle. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drizzle over the reheated soup.
♫ Cook along to: Teenage Fanclub (they have a song called the cabbage but this is one of my TF faves) Start Again