Best way to get your groceries in spring is undoubtedly at the local farmers market! The local farmer’s market just opened near us, so we decided to take this opportunity to use the freshly picked tomatoes to our advantage. The product? Delicious tomato soup, topped with a complimenting basil oil. A farmer’s market is a rare sight to feast your eyes on in such a skyscraper dominated city like Hong Kong; it was tucked away between huge blocks of office buildings. The market was bustling with visitors as it opened, and it was packed with families eager to get their pick of the local produce. It featured a wide range of stalls selling a variety of vegetables, handicrafts, assorted beverages, snacks and even a bouncy castle for young children to enjoy. For more details about it, visit here.
We couldn’t stop ourselves when our eyes caught sight of a batch of incredibly ripe looking, beautifully red tomatoes: better than anything you could get in the shops. Buying local produce can benefit both you and the environment. Buying local produce gives you a much fresher taste compared to imported products, and many of them are just picked off the vine in the morning, then transported to nearby markets in the afternoon. Fruits and vegetables in bought in the supermarket may spend from 7-14 days in transit before it reaches your local supermarket. This ensures the best quality and maximum freshness of your local produce. Buying fruits and vegetables in your local market can reduce your carbon footprint, because there is less energy needed to transport the food from the farm to your table, overall benefiting you and the environment.
The recipe was incredibly simple, essentially only having 4 ingredients, however combining to make the perfectly balanced soup that’s flavors of tomato and basil will mingle and dance on your palate, pleasing your senses. When we were cooking it, we learned that it was not only a feast for our mouths, but also for our noses and eyes; the scent was so strong yet delicate and it looked extremely appetizing. Because of the simplicity and the depth of taste, this dish would constitute for a perfect meal to have up your sleeve for busy days; an easy recipe with a comforting outcome for long, tiring days.
Tomatoes are also a very good source of vitamin C, which is essential for strengthening your immune system. They also contain vitamin A, which is key to good vision, a healthy immune system and cell growth. It also only contains 18 calories in every 100g, and has very little fat and no cholesterol at all, also tomatoes contains antioxidants that can be extremely beneficial to your health.
Tomato soup with basil oil (adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.)
For the basil oil:
- large bunch of basil leaves, washed
- 100ml of olive oil
For the soup:
- olive oil
- one clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 kg tomatoes, ripe and diced
1. To make the basil oil, save a few basil leaves for decoration and the stalks for the soup and place the rest into a mortar. Crush until it is a green paste.
2. Mix the basil paste with olive oil and leave to the side.
3. To make the soup, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium saucepan. Once it has heated, place the basil stalks in with the garlic clove. Fry for about a minute then stir in 85 ml of water and add your tomatoes.
4. Cook for around 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have started to break down. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until it is a consistency that you like.