There are the days when it rains and rains and rains.
Nonstop. A torrential downpour of tears from the heavens above. It can go on for hours and hours. Sometimes, it stops as soon as it started. But most of the time, it carries on for hours on end.
When it rains, it gets cold out there. The rain water is cold. The strong and howling winds that blow across the rooftops, trees, grass and road make it even colder.
It chills you to your bones even though you’re safely inside your own home.
There is no better way to counter the chattering of teeth, the shivering of your body, and the goosebumps on your skin than to fuel up on a hot, steaming bowl of tastebud-teasing tomato soup.
Seafood and pasta tomato soup, to be exact.
Which I went wild with preparing on Saturday for our dinner.
A decadent concoction of fresh prawns, half a packet of chewy fish balls, dory fish, two cups of fusili pasta, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato puree, minced onions and garlic went into the pot for this. Complemented with additional seasoning like salt and pepper, mixed herbs, garlic and pepper powder, a few pinches of brown sugar, and a dash of Italian white wine vinegar.
My husband said he’s never had tomato soup before and since this was his first time, I wanted to make sure my soup left him with a good first impression.
The preparation was really quite simple. There wasn’t much to do, save for cutting the fish into slabs and rinsing the fish balls. Other than that, all I had to do was open the cans of diced tomatoes and tomato puree, measure the amount of water and Italian white wine vinegar and gradually add what was necessary, stage by stage.
Of course, as with all recipes, it’s possible to get ahead of ourselves and use too much or too little of something. So I improvised as I went along. I reduced the amount of water so I could have the soup thicker and with more taste. I reduced the amount of salt as well, since the base of the soup was made of chicken stock (or vegetable stock, it depends on your preference). The Italian white wine vinegar had a strong acidic taste so I only used one tablespoon.
For the ingredients, you can add anything your heart desires. For me, I preferred using prawns and fish balls but you can always have crabs, squids, clams and mussels too. If you’re game, you can even have scallops and abalones! If your wallet is fine with you spending more than you should. Maybe the next time I make it, I may use squids and clams, in addition to the fish balls.
You can get the recipe from www.taste.com.au. Their recipe called for vegetable stock, thyme, oregano, jalapeno chillies, squids and coriander. The good thing about cooking is that you can do anything you want, as long as the meal’s edible. Here’s another recipe from www.tasteofhome.com that had crabs, clams and squids along with the prawns. Again, you can toss in anything you want as long as it’s edible, flavourful and so delicious you just want to dunk your face into the pot and do a facial.
The addition of pasta was an afterthought. I figured that if I was going to make dinner and I wanted it to be filling, I decided to have the pasta. Again, you can have any type of pasta. Bowties, shells, penne, rigatoni. Anything! The world is your oyster, so they say. However, if you don’t want to add the pasta, you can always have it carb-free.
Feel free to improvise and change things up. Spice it up with some smoked paprika. Tone it down and have it creamy by blending potatoes and sour cream. Because it’s cooking and like art, cooking is all about inspiration and creativity!