1-1¼kg ripe tomatoes
2 squirt of tomato purée (about 2 tsp)
2 bay leaves
1 medium sliced onion
1 small carrot (sliced)
1 celery stick
1.2 litres vegetable stock (can be made with boiling water and 4 rounded tsp store-bought bouillon powder or 2 stock cubes)
2 tbsp olive oil
First of all wash the tomatoes. Now cut each tomato into quarters and slice off any hard cores (they don't soften during cooking and you'd get hard bits in the soup at the end).
Chop the vegetables roughly the same size.
Now add 2 tbsp olive oil into a large pan and heat it over on low heat. Then tip in the onion, carrot and celery and mix them together. Still with the low heat, cook the vegetables until they're soft and faintly coloured. This should take about 10 minutes and you should stir them two or three times so they cook evenly and don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tsp of tomato purée, and then stir it around so it turns the vegetables red. Sprinkle in a good pinch of sugar and black pepper with the tomatoes.
Tear 2 bay leaves into a few pieces and throw them into the pan. Stir to mix everything together, put the lid on the pan and let the tomatoes stew over a low heat for 10 minutes until they shrink down in the pan and their juices flow nicely. From time to time, give the pan a good shake – this will keep everything well mixed.
Now slowly pour in the 1.2 litres of stock stirring at the same time to mix it with the vegetables. Turn up the heat as high as it will go and wait until everything is bubbling, then turn the heat down to low again and put the lid back on the pan.
Cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. At the end of cooking the tomatoes will have broken down and be very slushy looking.
It is time to scoop the soup into your blender until it's about three-quarters full, fit the lid on tightly and turn the machine on full. Blitz until the soup's smooth (stop the machine and lift the lid to check after about 30 seconds), then pour the puréed soup into a large bowl.
Repeat with the soup that's left in the pan.
Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and reheat it over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until you can see bubbles breaking gently on the surface.
Taste a spoonful and add a pinch or two of salt if you think the soup needs it, plus more pepper and sugar if you like. Now your soup is ready to serve.