Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity for a quiet evening in with home-cooked food and a good bottle of wine. This recipe for roasted Love Apple soup, alias tomato soup, makes a simple starter for any meal. The dish can be prepared well in advance and stored in the fridge.
The Love Apple
Throughout history the humble tomato has enjoyed several names such as the Love Apple, from an early belief that tomatoes had aphrodisiac powers. It has also been called Pomme d’Amour, Moor’s Apple and Wolf Peach.
The tomato was not always considered good to eat and in Victorian times was grown mainly as a decorative plant. Many thought it was poisonous because it belongs to the nightshade family.
Today several thousand types of tomatoes are grown around the world but only a few appear in our shops. For this recipe cherry tomatoes provide the best flavour, but it is worth experimenting with other varieties.
Recipe for Love Apple Soup
Serves 2 – very generous portions
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approximately 1 hour
- 675 g / 1 lb cherry tomatoes – washed and left whole
- 4 cloves of garlic – do not peel
- 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil – for drizzling on tomatoes
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp olive oil – to fry onions
- 1 small onion – peeled and finely chopped
- 450 ml / 15 fl oz light vegetable stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Chives, finely chopped
- Heart-shaped croutons
- Soya cream – optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.
- Place all the tomatoes and garlic in a single layer in a large roasting dish and drizzle with 45 ml of oil.
- Roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. The garlic should be soft when pierced with a knife. The tomatoes should be changing colour and the skins starting to split.
- Use a large saucepan to fry the chopped onions until just translucent. Take care not to let them go brown because this will affect the colour and flavour of the soup.
- Squeeze the garlic skins to remove the flesh and add this to the onions.
- Add the roasted tomatoes together with any juices in the roasting dish.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool and blend until the soup is very smooth and the tomato skins are well blended.
- Season to taste.
For Valentine’s Day serve Love Apple Soup piping hot with heart-shaped croutons, a swirl of soya cream, a sprinkling of chopped chives and a home-baked bagel. For Midsummer’s Day serve chilled, perhaps followed by Roast Vegetables and Butternut Burgers.