Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Good Morning to you,

I really enjoyed all the festive food, which we ate during the Christmas celebrations, but as lovely as it all was, my palette is now calling for more simplistic flavours.

So today we will be making,

Tomato and Rice soup, which I know with it's tomato, garlic and chilli flavours, will satisfy that need.  

I first came across Tomato and Rice soup in Germany.  Now I am not saying that it is a German dish, as I am not sure, but Germany is where I first encountered this soup.  It was a hit for me and I have been making it ever since.  The only difference is, I add chilli flakes, because I love that little bit of heat that the chilli imparts, but that is a personal choice.  If you are not a lover of too much chilli, then the first time you make this soup, add a pinch of chilli, just as a baseline, and then you can add a little more each time you make the soup, until you have reached the level of heat which is just right for you.

So, it's on with the apron and the music I have chosen today has a lovely story attached to it.  Firstly let me show you who we will be listening to,

yes, the fabulous Dolly Parton.  Do you see the little note attached to the cover, "You have a date with me on June 17th".  Well, I have to take you back to Christmas morning.  Breakfast had been eaten, cups of tea and coffee had been made.  We made our way to where all the Christmas presents were displayed..... around the Christmas tree. We were each given a gift and everyone decided that I would be the first person to open a gift.... that pleased me immensely as I love opening gifts.  I love the whole process of gift opening, from taking off and saving, yes saving, any pretty ribbons and bows and I have to tell you,  at one time I even saved any lovely paper which caught my eye..... but I have been weaned off saving paper now. So back to my present, I unwrapped my gift and there she was, the most fabulous Dolly Parton.... I had been treated to Dolly's greatest hits, which I was over the moon about, because I really enjoy Dolly's music, but do you know, I do not own any of her music, so this was a lovely surprise.... and then I noticed the message, and I thought that as the gift was from George, I would be going out with him on the 17th. I had a blank look on my face as I did not quite understand. Everyone was smiling at me, as they knew something I did not know, and George said, "Read the note out aloud" which I duly did, but the penny still did not drop. Everyone could see I did not know what the note meant, and that is when Natasha, Danielle and George said together, "You are going to see Dolly at the Metro Arena on June 17th". So the blank look on my face, turned into a huge smile, I just did not know what to say, my face was beaming and I have to tell you, there was a tear in my eye.... with happiness of course, as I never imagined I would be able to see Dolly singing live.  I gave George a kiss and a hug and thanked him, as I was thrilled to pieces.  We opened a few more gifts and then towards the end of the present giving, Danielle opened  her final gift and she had received a Dolly Parton cd as well.  She looked at me and I looked at her, with me not realising she had a message attached to her cd as well, when she suddenly jumped from her chair and shouted (yes, honestly, it was shouting with excitement, as this was not a time for courtesies), she ran across the room to cuddle me, well she jumped around the room first and she told me that she was going to see Dolly with me.  So on 17th June, Danielle and I are going to see Dolly together..... how fabulous is that.  I have to tell you, I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day.  

So with Dolly singing "I Will Always Love You" it is time to gather my ingredients.


1 kg fresh tomatoes
1 red onion
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
(less if you prefer)
3 small cloves of garlic
(or 2 large cloves)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/2 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt
handful of coriander
60g long grained rice


Slice the onion

Pour the olive oil into a medium sized saucepan
add the onions
cook the onions until slightly caramalized.

Add the chilli flakes
and cook for a minute.


Peel three small
2 large cloves of garlic


1 level teaspoon of sea salt,
crush the garlic
and add to the saucepan
and cook for a minute or so.


the tomato paste
and cook for 
a further minute or two.

Reduce the heat to a very low heat.

Remove the stalks
wash the tomatoes


Chop the tomatoes into quarters
place the tomatoes (skins as well)
into a food processor


now if you are not partial to seeds and fine
tomato skins, then this is the time to 
sieve the tomatoes,
but I don't mind the skins and seeds
so I do not sieve the tomatoes.

Place the blitzed tomatoes into the saucepan
with the other ingredients


add a teaspoon of sugar
(to balance the acidity of the tomatoes)

Add 1/2 litre of vegetable or chicken stock.
I use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Stock
as I find it works very well.

and bring to the boil,
reduce the heat
 simmer for 30 minutes.


Weigh out 60g of long grain rice
place in a sieve.
 Rinse the rice under cold running water,
until the water runs clear,
cook using your usual method.

I cook my rice in a rice cooker so I cannot
give you timings.
Usually, the information about timings will
be on the packet of rice.

By the time the rice is cooked, 
the soup will be ready.

Before serving,
check to see if the soup needs more salt,
I find the salt which I used to crush the garlic
is sufficient, but it is all about preference of taste.

Pour a couple of ladles of soup
into a bowl
place a tablespoon of cooked rice
into the middle of the soup.
Add a little or a lot of coriander,
which ever you prefer.
I like a little,
George likes a lot.

I would advise, that you don't add the cooked rice to the soup whilst it is in the pan, as the rice will swell and thicken the soup too much and you want a soup, not a tomato rice.

This is not a heavy soup and it is just perfect for lunchtimes and I find that as the soup has rice included, there is no need for any bread.  

That's it,  lunch is  sorted out for today, so it is time to leave you as we are going for our daily walk.  It will be with hoods up today as rain is in the air.

So take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,

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