Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

Spicy Tomato and Basil Soup Recipe

This post is part of an ongoing series about dinner ideas.

A newfound source of super flavoursome Doncaster tomatoes inspired this recipe at a recent dinner party. I peeled the tomatoes myself, but you could just as easily use tinned whole tomatoes. I also don’t have a blender so just cooked this down and mashed the tomatoes with a potato masher and cooked the tomato skins down in a small amount of water to turn them to paste.

Spicy Tomato and Basil Soup

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small chilli, finely chopped
  • 1kg juicy tomatoes
  • 500mL of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • large handful of fresh basil, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons of raw sugar
  • sour cream


Peel the tomatoes by submersing in boiling water for 2 minutes and then transfer them to a bowl of cold water. The skin on the larger tomatoes will easily peel off while the smaller ones will need to be helped with the aid of a knife. Save the skin and blend them to paste.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft, add the celery and chilli and cook for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes and blend them roughly with a hand blender. How smooth you want the stock is a matter of preference, I personally prefer it to be pretty chunky for a nice mouth texture. Finally stir the tomato paste, sugar and basil into the soup.

Simmer the fluid for as long as is practical, this should reduce the fluid to a nice thick soup.

Garnish with a fresh basil leaf and a dollop of sour cream.

Wine Pairing

Sangiovese and Barbera always go well with strong tomato sauces and soap. However, in this case with the spicy flavours in this soup it will pair perfectly with a peppery medium-aged Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

This post is part of an ongoing series about dinner ideas.

Spaghetti BologneseSpaghetti Bolognese is the most Australian-Italian recipe there is. It is a staple in nearly every university student’s diet, taught by their mother with instructions something along the lines of, “This is cheap, good for you and you can freeze it for a rainy day!” Cheap it is, with enough food to feed 4 or 5 well clocking in under $15. It is so easy it is almost a case of throwing all the ingredients in a pot, boiling some pasta and serving.

The actual Italian authenticity of this recipe is doubtful. It has almost certainly been bastardised by lazy, homely cooking techniques, but one thing is for certain, it never fails to please. It is easy and almost impossible to go wrong with and there are so many ways to modify and improve this recipe.

Ingredients, to serve 4

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 500g good quality mince
  • 2 tins of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 200ml of stock, beef or vegetable
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of vegemite
  • Fresh or dried basil, parsley, oregano, thyme
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 handfuls of swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 500g homemade pasta (spaghetti) or 300g of dry pasta
  • 1 block parmesan cheese


Spaghetti Bolognese Over a medium heat in a deep frying pan, cook onions till they are clear in the olive oil, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. With the onions and garlic, fry the mince until it is brown. Stir into the mince the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, vegemite and finally the herbs (the more the merrier). Let this simmer for approximately 10 minutes, before adding the carrot, capsicum and mushrooms. Cover and simmer for a minimum 10 or more minutes, the longer the better.

Cook the pasta with a liberal amount of salt, strain and 5 minutes before serving add to the sauce and stir in. This step is important as the pasta absorbs the flavours in the sauce and makes the meal that much better.

Serve in a deep bowl with cracked pepper, rock salt and a generous serving of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Wine Pairing

This meaty, tomato sauce is best eaten with an earthy, spicy, medium bodied red such as a young Cabernet Merlot, Sangiovese or Pinot Noir. Notes of tobacco, leather and dark cherries will complement but not overpower the rich tomato flavours. There is no need to overspend as most recent releases of these varieties will probably be suitable. Read the label and if the winemakers notes agree the wine will be great.