I thought I’d share a bit about what I get up to in the back yard today. I have to admit, taking and selecting some of the older photos for this post… I’m a little proud of my efforts. We have two veggie gardens out in the back yard. One is an Aquaponic set up that my husband maintains and the other is your traditional dirt and all garden bed set up. My forte is the dirt and all variety.

 

IMG_9160

The Aquaponics set up

 

 

IMG_9159

Veggie beds in the middle, the blue barrel’s are filters and the large green container is a fish tank.

 

 

IMG_0776

The humble first garden bed. Amazing how much you can fit in a small space if you’re creative!

 

My brother helped me build it a few years ago and started me off with one patch and compost bin with the promise that if I consistently used it, he’d help me make more. I now have 3 garden beds! Each season as things start to die off, I start scouring Bunnings and the local farmers market for new plants to pop in the patch. I over commit every time. This year, I decided 3 tomato bushes were enough and they’re all cherry’s. In previous years I’ve filled an entire patch with Tomato bushes but inevitably, there will be a storm with gale force winds that flattens the lot and then I have to strip the bushes and pull them out. My 3 little bushes have gone crazy town with produce this year which has been fantastic. I have a red, yellow and orange variety, so they all look pretty together in a salad.

Today's pickings

Today’s pickings

The staple veggie I always plant in summer, along with the tomatoes is zucchini. It is so incredibly easy to grow. Literally plonk it in the ground and water it, thats it. This year we’ve had zucchini’s coming out of our ears (not literally… that’d be weird ;-)), so I’ve invested in a Spirooli which makes noodles out of vegetables, but I’ll cover that in another post.

IMG_2857

Don’t let these babies out of your sight for longer than a day. What starts as a baby can be as big as your forearm in a couple of days with the right weather conditions!

 

So, the weather has turned a little autumn like today and is a lot cooler so I’ve stripped what has ripened off the tomato bushes and decided to make my roasted tomato soup. This one is great towards the end of summer when the bushes are covered in ripened fruit that need to be used up and particularly warm and comforting on a cooler day like today.

 

I love that the soup I’ve made today is almost solely sourced from our garden. The garlic was harvested a few months ago and has been gorgeous. The only additions from the cupboard were the paprika and the olive oil, salt and pepper.

IMG_2925

Tomato, zucchini, garlic and oregano from our garden this year

 

 

Roasted Tomato Soup

This is one of those wonderful recipes where quantities don’t really matter at all. Its a licence to get creative and to tailor it to your taste.
All you need is a heap of tomatoes, doesn’t really matter what colour or size. If using large ones, chop into thick slices to reduce cooking time. I tend to do this toward the end of tomato season when a heap are ready for picking at once and there are too many to get through before they spoil!
Ingredients:
Glut of tomatoes
Large Zucchini – roughly chopped
4-5 Cloves garlic, whole
Tbsp fresh or dried oregano leaves
1/2 bunch fresh basil
sprinkle of paprika
1/2 cup warm water
salt and pepper
olive oil
This is one of those wonderful recipes where quantities don’t really matter at all. Its a licence to get creative and to tailor it to your taste. I’ve made it in one small baking tray and I’ve made it in three, its an ever evolving recipe thats a winner every time.
All you need is a heap of tomatoes, doesn’t really matter what colour or size. If using large ones, chop into thick slices to reduce cooking time. I tend to do this toward the end of tomato season when a heap are ready for picking at once and there are too many to get through before they spoil!
Lay the tomatoes on a deep baking tray and drizzle over some olive oil. For each kilogram of tomatoes, add 2-4 cloves of garlic, whole. Add a handful of fresh basil leaves and some fresh oregano. I don’t always add in the basil before roasting. It can be just as nice added in just before processing to keep that fresh basil flavour. Again, herbs and spices to your taste preferences. If I have it on hand, I also tend to add some freshly grated turmeric, but just a little.
IMG_2924
IMG_2926
Crack over some himalayan salt and  black pepper and bake in the oven on 180 degrees celsius for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to look roasted and are leaking all their gorgeous juices.
IMG_2927

See how much juice is in the bottom? mmm mmm…

Once done, transfer to either a blender that takes hot food or a food processor.  Pulse until smooth but not puree’d and add a little warm water if you’d like it a little runnier. You can see how much juice came out while roasting this lot, I certainly won’t need to add any extra liquid this time around. The blades in my food processor are starting to blunt from making too much nut butter… If you want it really smooth, you’d probably need to either use a potato ricer or a super high powered blender to really munch up the tomato skins. I don’t mind the skin in the there, it shreds up, adds texture and is more fibre as well.
IMG_2928
IMG_2929
IMG_2930
If using larger tomatoes, such as the Roma variety they don’t tend to be as juicy so this won’t work as well with an immersion blender unless you plan to transfer to a heat proof bowl or pot and add some liquid first. This prevents you from adjusting the texture as you go though. Add salt and pepper to taste, grate over some fresh parmesan cheese and garnish with a little fresh basil, then serve.
IMG_2932
IMG_2931Goes well with a great crusty sour dough, toasted, if you’re of the bread eating kind.
The best part of this soup is it tastes of all the Mediterranean flavours of summer. It is a great way to use up overripe tomatoes if you’re not a keen sauce maker.
Here she is!
Add in suggestions:
Red capsicum
Tumeric
Paprika
Chilli flakes
Cumin