Just like my mum, I too wish I were talking about a date.

When I opened the fridge to cook myself dinner last night, things were looking pretty dismal.

The only things I had on hand were a particularly wilted half-bunch of shallots, a 59c tin of home brand tomatoes and a teaspoon of vegan ‘chicken-flavoured’ stock.

Two cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh basil leaves from my balcony garden later, and I had the makings of a really delicious tomato soup.

I topped mine of with a drizzle of olive oil and a shaving of tasty cheese (not a shred of parmesan in sight) and it tasted not unlike a tin of Heinz spaghetti from my youth. In fact, I almost felt like I was eating a deconstructed spaghetti-and-cheese jaffle.

Adjust to suit your taste, and add fresh tomatoes if you have any. Ricotta, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Tasty Cheese all work well and give it a new taste every time.

I use a soup maker for the final step rather than an immersion blender on the stove top as it’s super easy (boils AND blends!) and doubles as storage in the fridge.


Serves 1


1 400g tin diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ bunch Shallots, roughly chopped
1 cup stock
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
2 Slices of your favourite Cheese, optional

Top with pesto, ricotta and fresh basil.

1. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Add Tomatoes, Garlic, Shallots and Basil to a baking tray.
3. Add a pinch of Salt and drizzle with Olive Oil.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, giving it a stir around the 15-minute mark. It will start to smell incredible – the garlic, onion and basil will make your house smell like an authentic Italian restaurant.
5. Transfer to a large saucepan and add the Stock. Bring to the boil, take it off the heat and blend smooth.
6. Pour into a bowl, add the Cheese and Pepper to taste.