I am really rather averse to published PDAs. In the past few years, I have noticed that many people have declared undying love on Facebook and the like only to split and fall in love with someone else shortly after. Perhaps it’s my own sense of self-preservation and a desire not to look that stupid ‘should anything happen’ that makes me feel that such declarations are between the two people concerned. But today is Dad’s birthday and I feel that after almost 31 years together, I can confidently state that he is my rock, that my life would be very grey without him, and (cover your eyes, boys) that I still fancy the socks off him. Dad is the most upright person I know. He has never said that something will happen without making it happen. He has never said what I want to hear if he doesn’t think it is possible. He never agrees to something without thinking it through very carefully. He is absolutely honest and I appreciate that more than I can say. He has loved me unconditionally through thick and thin (literally), and has never played games to make me feel insecure in any way. He makes me laugh and and he understands me. He accepted with love everything I brought to our marriage and I love him deeply.
PDA finished now….
Most of our dinners here at home in New York are either a piece of meat or fish, usually cooked by Dad, with a salad or vegetables, followed by a selection of cheeses. When we are home in London, we enjoy meze style meals or roasted meat with all the accompaniments. These are not meals we can recreate for the two of us – we need to be with as many of you as possible. I honestly don’t know what Dad’s favourite dish that I cook is. He’s never said and I’ve never asked. I know he does enjoy today’s recipe a lot. The recipe originally came from a vegetarian cook book and it’s great on a cold day – it warms you right down to your toes. My only warning is that if you make extra to freeze, it has been known to stain the plastic containers for ever – not pretty but not really the end of the world. So today’s recipe is Spicy Tomato Soup. If you don’t like very spicy food, halve the quantity of harissa. I have found that different makes of harissa have different levels of spiciness and best to err on the side of caution.
Spicy Tomato Soup
- 250 g / 8 oz onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 tbsp harissa
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tins of tomatoes
Put the oil into a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté gently for a minute. Add the onions and cook until soft. Try not to brown either the garlic or the onions. Add the harissa and the ground cumin and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. At this point, add water so that the soup is the thickness you would like. I usually add the same volume of water as tomatoes, i.e., I fill the empty tomato tins with water and pour into the pan. This gets any recalcitrant bits of tomato into the soup too! Cook for about 15 mins. Season to taste. Liquidise or blend and serve.
I like to put a dollop of Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche into it. It looks pretty and will cool down the spiciness if the harissa was warmer than you wanted. If you want to add something to the cream, put a tsp of ground coriander seed in – it is lovely and adds an extra something.