Soup; The Perfect Simple Lunch

P8240751Don’t be fooled by the blue skies and the sun’s shadows, they were but a fleeting visit, lasting for a matter of seconds before being replaced by heavy black clouds. This weekend Storm Amelie, the first named storm of the autumn swept in from the Atlantic lashing our coastline with winds of up to 160kph. As the crow flies we’re just a few kilometres inland and so we felt the full strength of the gale force winds. But these old stone houses have withstood much worse over the centuries, we simply closed the shutters.

This morning as we awoke to rain lashing against the house the winds were still strong but not as harsh as they had been during the night. We took an early morning walk in an eerily quiet village. Our usual Sunday market had been cancelled. There was little sign of life.




P8240739P8240740At some stage during the night we had lost electricity, I have no idea when, but now all had been restored. There was also some deafeningly loud thunder which woke us abruptly and we became aware that Evie, our Jack Russell had snuggled up under the duvet beside us. Listening to the local news over breakfast, we learnt that some 140,000 homes were still without power, our region taking the brunt of the storm.

P8240736P8240765We had lost one tree, but nothing catastrophic, truthfully speaking it was already dead, a spindly thing in a corner that we had been wondering how we could get to in order to take it down. It seems nature did this for us, albeit causing a little chaos in the process but no real harm done, just plenty of work for Roddy and the chainsaw this coming week.

The garden looks like a bomb site, their is debris everywhere, huge branches ripped from trees lay strewn across the lawn. Many persimmons which were slowly ripening are now scattered across the chicken garden, too hard for them to enjoy and too early for us to take them indoors. Ironically, the autumn fruiting raspberries were unscathed and I stood and surveyed the mass of debris all around me silently feasting on these utterly delicious small red fruits, soft and rain sodden they were none the less sweet and perfect and eating them on this damp chilly morning seemed somewhat surreal.

However having established that no real harm had been done I decided it was most definitely a day for soup. It’s one of the things I really welcome in autumn, homemade and nutritious; butternut squash, tomato, thick vegetable, carrot and ginger, the choice is endless and it becomes a real lunchtime staple in our house. Having hastily gathered the last of the years tomatoes yesterday before Amelie took them from us, we knew that  today definitely called for tomato soup. Some people think soups sound complicated to make, but trust me they couldn’t be easier. At this time of year we also start to relish our Sunday roasts once again. It is always too hot in the summer to have the oven pounding away for hours and so this weekend ritual is now reserved just for the cooler months. But it also goes hand in hand with soup season. A discarded chicken carcass makes the most perfect stock, the best base for any soup.

IMG_2869For our tomato soup we simply sauté an onion and three or four cloves of garlic in some olive oil.
Add around 1kg (2.2lbs) of tomatoes, chopped into large chunks.
Add a pint of stock, we like to use homemade chicken stock, but you can use vegetable stock as well.
Add half a cup of white wine and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for half an hour.
Blitz in either a blender or with a hand blender and serve.


IMG_2874I serve this with a French baguette or if I have the time, as I did this morning, I’ll make a homemade focaccia, with fresh rosemary from the garden, leaving it to rise in the warm kitchen for a couple of hours.

IMG_2865Hmmm, utterly delicious and incredibly simple.

IMG_2876Nutritious and warming; the perfect autumn lunch.


24 thoughts on “Soup; The Perfect Simple Lunch

  1. We were thinking of you as the wind blew. Glad there was no serious damage. People can so easily forget that nature is in charge.
    Ali xx

  2. We, here in TX, have had a “cold spell” w/a couple of freezes already so we too are having soup join us for lunch. Tortilla soup & Red Pepper w/Tomato have been our staples of late.
    Those photos of your village looked deserted & forlorn. I am so happy you had little damage & were able to harvest both tomato & raspberries. . . sorry about the persimmons. Europeans are smart to make shutters that close out the weather. Mainly in the US they are decorative.
    That Evie—smart cookie she is! 🙂 How is the little guy doing?

  3. I second the request for your focaccia (sorry, spelling?) recipe. The soup recipe is so simple – I can’t wait to try it. I would assume you de-seed the tomatoes first? What’s the best way to do this in your opinion? Thank You!

  4. Love ‘walking with you’ through your village, it looks so charming even when deserted! Also, you make preparing lunch sound so simple and yet very tasty. I too would love your focaccia recipe.

  5. Amelie was a very naughty gal, wasn’t she ? Even by Australian standards 160 kms is a hell of a blow during a weekend we lived thru’ somewhat similar. Glad it was only one tree and it did not upend itself on the house or cars . .Love the walkthru of the Village and the tasty practicality of the soup , . . oh, and love to smart and sassy Gigi looking terrific in her new garb . . ..

  6. Susan, I’ll bet we’d all like your focaccia recipe! The aromas from your kitchen must be captivating! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Put me in the focaccia bread recipe line! I can almost taste it!
    Sounds like quite a storm-glad you had no major damage!

  8. That’s definitely my idea of lunch: a delicious, home-made soup and focaccia. Amelie seems to wrought plenty of damage all over the south of France. It’s sunny this morning but still very windy here on Cote d’Azur.

  9. Yep, soup is the word of many of my days too, as we seem to have passed directly from Hot Flashes to November Forever….. We had ‘the pleasure’ to drive in the horrendous weather and my beautiful Moschino umbrella (a gift from a lovely English friend), red with ‘flying’ cats and dogs in black and a band around the border with ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’, overturned about 10 times in the space it took us to cross the road to the car. I was nearly heartbroken thinking my precious brolly had had it, but it was made of sturdy material and I thought that sometimes it must be worth paying more for something a bit ‘better’…
    We had lost some of branches and stuff earlier in October in another storm and this time it was mainly leaves and short twigs ripped off and strewn about. That’s helpful as Hero Husband has left by car and won’t be around to help clearing up. Maybe you can send Chainsaw-Roddy over when he’s done in your garden?! 😉 I promise to hand him back ASAP and I’ll look well after him for you. And while we’re at it, why doesn’t he bring Evie with him too? Giving you a break, LOL!
    I’m thinking of you all often and I deeply care for your wellbeing, and now I shall think of you again when I make one of my ‘in the moment soup’ – not being able to cook with fresh tomatoes any more (bought the last French ones 10 days ago and they were really good too, surprisingly so, as the season is really over), I take what the fridge and larder are giving me…. (spuds, carrots, canned toms & purée, always rosmarin, fresh and dried herbs, veggies, potimarron, whatever).
    Sending you and yours, plus the 3 dog warriors, cat & chickens, much love, warmth and sunshine.

  10. I was hoping that you were surviving the storm alright. Glad to here that you didn’t have any real damage. The soup and focaccia look fabulous—perfect for the weather.

  11. Amélie hasn’t made much of an impact over our way — fairly windy, but nothing like you are describing, not too much debris scattered about. The daughter of a friend is called Amélie so there has been much teasing on FB. But it is definitely soup weather — I made chicken soup yesterday for lunch.

  12. I’m sorry for the bad storm but glad that there was not real damage. And you are all safe.

    Your lunch looks scrumptious! That bread… yum!

  13. Another request for your focaccia recipe please! It looks delicious! Nothing nicer than a warming soup when the weather gets cooler. Have you ever tried a roasted tomato soup? Also easy and tasty. Glad there wasn’t too much damage.

  14. oh yes please…the foccacio receipe. Hi, Susan. Even in South of Spain was a heavy storm and temperature dropped.
    What’s better than cuddle and cook a healthy soup. Personally I like the hefty ones. Villages looked like a ghost town
    at this time as you show in your photos. Anyway I like this time of the year rather than the ugly hot days last summer.

  15. Your soup looks delicious Susan. Glad the storm did not do too much damage to your home. We live on the Gulf Coast of Florida so we are very familiar with hurricanes here. Luckily they have not been too bad for us this year. I’ve saved your recipe to try. I usually make a big pot of soup every Sunday so we have something for lunch during the week. The temperature here is still in the mid to upper 80s but soup still hits the spot.

  16. Love your pictures, as always! The buildings are so fascinating & would love to find out who lived there etc. Saw one picture that had a door up high, guess the steps were gone! Thanks so much!! The soup and bread looks enticing!

  17. I love soups of all kinds. This weekend I made a roasted tomato soup with some of the last garden tomatoes that are ripening in the house. Yours looks delicious, too, and that bread has me salivating!

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