recipe

Delicious tomato soup

This year we have had so many tomatoes, I’ve made a lot of soup with the recipe my mother always used. It is very simple and is done in the microwave. The quantities make about 2 ½ pints of soup.

Ingredients

ingredients
Ingredients
  • 1 oz butter
  • medium onion
  • 1 ½ lbs tomatoes
  • 1 ½ oz plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ pint milk
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ pint hot chicken stock

Start by chopping an onion. Add to a mixing bowl with 1 oz butter. I use a mixing bowl as that is perfect for holding all the ingredients. Cook in the microwave for four minutes.

Cooked chopped onion and butter in mixing bowl
Cooked chopped onion and butter in mixing bowl

While that is cooking, roughly chop 1 ½ pounds tomatoes and add to the butter and onion mix when it is done. My tomatoes are small cherry tomatoes, but any sizes are fine.

Chopped tomatoes
Chopped tomatoes

Now add the flour, tomato puree, celery salt, caster sugar, dried basil, milk, salt and pepper to the mix. Stir the ingredients together.

Tomatoes and other ingredients ready to cook
Tomatoes and other ingredients ready to cook

Return the bowl to the microwave and cook for a further ten minutes. I cover the bowl with a pyrex lid from a casserole dish to prevent splashes in the microwave.

Meanwhile prepare the stock. I use three chicken oxo cubes dissolved in ¾ pint of very hot water. When the tomato mix has finished cooking in the microwave, remove and stir in the hot stock.

Hot stock
Hot stock

The soup is now cooked. It needs to be liquidised and then sieved to remove the pips and skin. My liquidiser is only small so I do a small amount at a time, then put that into the sieve so it can be draining while I liquidise the next portion.

Cooked soup, liquidised and sieved
Cooked soup, liquidised and sieved

Squash the pips and skins gently against the sieve so that the liquid goes through but nothing else.

The soup is now complete and ready to eat.

Tomato soup ready to eat
Tomato soup ready to eat

I usually eat some straight away and freeze the rest, ready to eat on those cold winter days to bring back the memories of summer. Enjoy!

Books, nature

The jay who lost his feathers

Nannie RaRa has written the second book for younger children. This time it is about a jay who lost his distinguishing blue feathers.

The book was inspired by a jay that came into Nannie’s garden. She took photographs of it, and turned them into watercolour paintings. The story of Jason Jay was woven around the paintings.

Jason Jay has lost his blue feathers. He asks for help from Monty Mole and Sonia Snail who do their best to find the blue and white striped feathers but to no avail. It is only when he steps into the ants nest that he finds his missing feathers.

Jason Jay asks Monty Mole for help
Jason Jay asks Monty Mole for help
Sonia Snail slowly makes her way to the flowerbed
Sonia Snail slowly makes her way to the flowerbed
The ants crawled all over Jason Jay
The ants crawled all over Jason Jay
Nannie saw Jason Jay with his blue feathers
Nannie saw Jason Jay with his blue feathers

The book is available both electronically and as a paperback from Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading it.

The jay who lost his feathers: paperback

The jay who lost his feathers: ebook

Books, nature

Bobbie Robin’s red feathers

Nannie RaRa has published a new book, Bobbie Robin’s red feathers, written originally for her youngest grandchildren.

The story is about Bobbie Robin who started life as an egg in the nest box in Nannie’s garden. When he left the nest box he couldn’t wait to have red feathers, but it wasn’t that easy.

Bobbie tried to make red feathers with paint, then jelly and finally red lipstick, but none worked as he expected.

The book is illustrated throughout with delightful watercolours by Nannie RaRa. The paintings were based on photographs taken of robins who had indeed laid eggs in the nest box in Nannie’s garden. The eggs hatched and the fledglings wandered about the garden.

Bobbie Robin on the paint pot
Bobbie Robin on the paint pot
Bobbie Robin putting jelly on his chest
Bobbie Robin putting jelly on his chest
Bobbie Robin brushing past the leaves
Bobbie Robin brushing past the leaves

Young Bobbie Robin
Young Bobbie Robin
Bobbie Robin with his red feathers
Bobbie Robin with his red feathers

The book is available both electronically and as a paperback from Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Bobbie Robin’s red feathers: ebook

Bobbie Robin’s red feathers: paperback

Cover of Bobbie Robin's red feathers

nature

Early summer walks

Nannie RaRa has been out and about with her camera taking photographs of nature both during her morning walks and in her garden. She is lucky in having woods, fields, a river and a wildlife site all nearby.

Here are a few pictures from those walks. I’ve named the birds as best I can, but do correct me if I have them wrong.

First up is a black cap. I heard him singing every day as I walked along the path and managed to get this photo.

Black cap
Black cap

Then over the wildlife site I saw a jay. I first noticed it when a lot of the smaller birds were making a ruckus.

Jay

Down by the river I stood watching a cormorant drying its wings. It stood there for ages.

Cormorant

On the river one morning when it was as still as a mill pond I watched two great crested grebes doing their neck dance.

Great crested grebe
Great crested grebe

The last two photographs are not the clearest as the birds were a long way away.

A goldfinch was perched on the overhead wires.

Goldfinch
Goldfinch

The next two photos are of a common whitethroat. It was among the brambles which were growing near a small lake on the wildlife site.

Common whitethroat
Common whitethroat
Common whitethroat
Common whitethroat

This bird looks similar to the common whitethroat. Is it the same or is it a lesser whitethroat?

Lesser whitethroat (?)
Lesser whitethroat (?)

Also near the lake on an old tree stump was a rook, or was it a crow?

Rook or crow
Rook or crow

A group of long-tailed tits were in a tree.

Long-tailed tit
Long-tailed tit

A chaffinch was patiently sitting on a twig.

This bluetit was taken in the garden as it was looking for insects among the holly.

Bluetit
Bluetit

Nearby there have been some robins nesting. First I saw the male robin with insects in its beak. Then the baby robins appeared and were fed for a while before finding their own food.

Robin with insects
Robin with insects
Feeding the baby robin
Feeding the baby robin
Young robin
Adult robin

There was a family of starlings in the garden looking for food. The young sat there waiting to be fed, then opend their mouths and squawked when they couldn’t wait any longer.

Starlings looking for food
Starlings looking for food
Young starling squawking for food
Young starling squawking for food

Finally there are a few photographs of insects found in the garden.

Honey bee on orange buddleia
Honey bee on orange buddleia
Bumble bee diving into a chive flower
Bumble bee diving into a chive flower
And finally a dreaded lily beetle
And finally a dreaded lily beetle

Do let me know if any of the birds are mis-identified. Nannie RaRa is fairly new to birdwatching and to photographing them. There are so many blurry photos I won’t show you.

Let me know if you like these.