When its freezing outside, you get back in and hunger strikes…what better way to warm up than to a tasty bowl of homemade vegetable soup mmmmm. This recipe serves up to 6 people.
1 aubergine, extra virgin olive oil, 3 medium-sized courgettes, 4 peppers, orange or red, 2 medium onions, 2 garlic cloves, the leaves from 3 sprigs of marjoram, the leaves from 4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, the leaves from 3 bushy sprigs of thyme, 3 medium tomatoes, 15-20 cherry tomatoes, 1 x 680g/1lb 8oz jar passata, 3 bay leaves, about 12 basil leaves
1.Cut the aubergine in half and slice it into thick pieces about the width of a little fingernail.
2.Warm a thin layer of olive oil in a large pan. Be prepared to add more later. Add the aubergine slices and let them colour lightly on both sides, adding more oil as necessary. (Aubergines drink lots of oil.) Remove the aubergines from the pan and set them aside.
3. Add a little more oil to the pan. Cut the courgettes into long, thin strips and colour lightly in the oil, remove and set aside. While they are cooking, cut the peppers into six, removing and discarding the seeds and pith as you go. Cook the peppers in a little oil until they start to soften and then remove them.
4.Peel and thickly slice the onions. Add them to the pan and let them cook, with a little more oil if necessary, until they are soft and pale golden-brown. Peel and slice the garlic and add to the pan with the roughly chopped leaves of marjoram, parsley and thyme. Roughly chop the larger tomatoes and add them to the pan, along with the whole cherry tomatoes. Pour in the tomato passata and mix well. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes then add the bay leaves, some salt and black pepper.
5.Put the aubergine back into the pan and cook for five minutes or so before adding the peppers. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, then stir in the courgettes. Partially cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for 25 -30 minutes, or until all is soft and slushy, but the vegetables are still distinct and recognizable. Stir in the torn basil leaves and serve.