Roasted Tomato Soup

Inspiration can strike anywhere, perhaps inspiration is too strong a word….ideas, maybe? IKEA is a strange place to be hit with the yearning for a tomato soup, especially in winter when no one really gets the freshest of tomatoes. But a black bowl was inspiring enough to rummage the fridge in order to whip up a batch of this fantastic soup that keeps for a month in the freezer, probably even more but we always finish it before that. The sweet, rich flavor of this soup comes from slow roasting tomatoes into submission, at a steady 400F for 40 mins, then adding in a can of whole peeled roma tomatoes, stock, garlic and chilli flakes to give it that extra kick. Toast some lovely croutons and its the meal alternate to curling up on a chair with a hot cup of coffee.

Roasted Tomato Soup 1


Roasted Tomato Soup 2


Roasted Tomato Soup 3



Roasted Tomato Soup

6-8 Tomatoes (large)

1 can peeled whole roma tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 large red or yellow onion

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in halves, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40 mins.

In a stock pot, add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes. Add the chopped onion and sautee till they are soft and about to change color. Add the can of roma tomatoes and break up the tomatoes(otherwise they do tend to burst and splatter).  Add the roasted tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Blend and serve hot or cold.

Please do not reprint or reuse anything on this blog without the author’s explicit written permission.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Move over berries, tomatoes & fresh summer produce and make way for the root vegetables and vines. I love to cook and I’ve said that before, but to date I have bought just one cookbook and I have never followed a recipe(unless am baking) to the tee. I can’t follow recipes to the tee, because I am either out of some ingredient that is required or I don’t like the taste or fancy an ingredient. I like my own twists and turns, cookbooks and recipes are just guidelines for me, guidelines for proportions, baking times etc. Besides if you have noticed, bulk of these darn books make things in batches that serve 6-8 and we are just two people at home here. It is almost like condemning us to stale baloney sandwiches because we aren’t entertaining or have a family big enough!! In my case let me throw in another spoke into that wheel – my husband is a vegetarian – yeah you heard me right – vegetarian. For the record there is nothing wrong with it, it is probably healthier in some ways but sometimes that means I have to make two different meals which is rather off putting. Can you imagine double chopping, double cooking and worst of all double washing ( you know that kind of load isn’t going to fit in a dishwasher). Oh joy! the things we do for our loved ones! Let’s come back to not following recipes…so here I am inspired by Ina’s butternut squash soup, but I don’t want to sprinkle on toasted coconuts and curry powder as a garnish. I come from a land that uses those ingredients generously and am not fond of eating either as a garnish! Why waste fantastic flavor like that? Butternut squash soup embraces the concept of successfully marrying something innately sweet with a spice that sits squarely and firmly on the opposite side of sweet. As a tamilian (from the state of Tamil Nadu in South India), we are genetically predisposed to hating such flavors, we are purveyors of spice and heat, so for me it is a recently acquired taste and one that I genuinely can’t get enough of.  So I picked up Ina’s recipe and tweaked it to roasting the squash with curry powder, cut out the coconut and added a tinge of maple syrup to help with the caramelization of the squash. Well, I’ll just furnish the recipe below.

But lets not forget that this blog is aimed at photography. The best thing about food photography is that much of it is done under natural light – something that is free and plentiful. The only issue is, as we close in on fall and winter, there are lesser hours of sunlight and more dark and dreary days. Also, in the interest of not losing much of that beautiful light, it will mean cooking dishes earlier during the day. Planning is key during such days, winging it just wont cut it! Visualizing the shots and getting a story board together, helps. It helps to keep the props ready to go, and have everything at hand when you suddenly realize pouring the soup into the bowl is just not a smart idea, ladling it in – is. So does that mean end of shoot , just because you have splashed soup all over the bowl and there are specks of soup that make the bowl look like a dog’s breakfast??? Nope, that’s why there are little things called swabs and tissues. I have learnt to appreciate the usefulness of the “quicker picker upper” more, since I started shooting soups.  Today, I stuck to my kit lens of 18-55mm, compensated for the dreary rainy day through my exposure compensation and by adhering to a slower shutter speed. I will post the EXIF details along with the picture,one will have to click on the picture to see the exif. There were no reflectors used, I liked the natural shadows that were falling around the plates and the food itself was lit well enough and I wanted the details of the swirls to show through a little bit. I got about 5 slightly different compositions with the same variants and am posting each one of them. So if you are here  just for the photography, skip the next part and go to the picture, if not read on for the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe

2 pounds butternut squash soup

1tbsp curry powder

1tbsp maple syrup

1 cup diced red onions

4 cups of vegetable broth(low sodium only)

1tbsp butter or olive oil to saute

salt to taste

Olive oil to coat

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the butternut squash into 1.5 inch cubes, toss with olive oil, maple syrup and curry powder. On a baking tray, lay out the squash and bake for 40-45 minutes, until its golden and beginning to char. In a stock pot, saute the onions until translucent, add in the squash and the broth and simmer for 15-20 mins. The stock should have reduced from 4 cups to about 2-2.5 cups (depending on how thick you want the soup). Blend in a food processor and serve warm with croutons.

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup