Roasted tomato, chickpea and garlic soup (penance for Paris)

There are certain foods I pretend don’t exist.

They include coffee eclairs, columbine sweets, croissants and chunky Kit Kats.

I pretend they don’t exist on a day to day basis because if they did, I would be a darn sight bigger than I am now.

It’s not about self flagellating denial. It’s more like deleting an ex boyfriend from your field of facebook friends. It’s easier to get on if I pretend they don’t exist.

Except in Paris when all bets are off.

The first thing I ate when we got off the Eurostar was a coffee eclair. The Hungry One ran down the street and brought one proudly back to me. “Eat it” he said. Down goes a long finger of distended choux pastry, with faintly coffee tainted creme patisserie spilling out of the centre. It should be said upfront; there is no elegant way to eat a coffee eclair. And scraping all of the icing from the inside of the bag is mandatory.

Over the course of the next two days there were cliches a plenty; croissants dipped in hot chocolate, and charcuterie plates that looked more overstuffed buffet trays. There was white bread that nearly wilted under the weight of meat, cheese and fat. There was the largest chocolate mousse in the world, steak, frites and some gloopy bearnaise sauce.

There was a tad too much pink wine, an unfortunate incident with a Malibu, pineapple and lime and a late night emergency crepe filled with nutella and banana. Which prompted me to prattle on about the restorative powers of potassium.

But now we’re home.

It’s time to even the keel.

The big toe is still pretty broken, so yoga remains out. Pump classes are possible, but lunges need to be replaced with extra squats.

There’s a big pot of iced peppermint tea in the fridge and the bircher muesli is cued.

And for dinner? The brief is cheap, cheerful and chock full of vegetables.

Roasted tomato, chickpea and garlic soup

Fill a baking tray with cherry tomatoes, some peeled cloves of garlic and skinned baby onions.

Drizzle over the top a table spoon or so of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Over the top of that put two tablespoons of smoked spanish paprika.

This stuff is magic. It can make ANYTHING taste like a holiday. You can buy it from good delis, the Brindisa store at Borough, or from Simon Johnson – or his website, here. One jar will last forever.

Roast the tomatoes and garlic at 150 degrees for an hour and a half. You don’t want the tomatoes to scorch, you just want them to give up some of their resistance.

At this point tumble in a tin of rinsed chickpeas.

Bake that for another half an hour.

Take the chickpeas, tomato and garlic out of the oven. Get a blender. Take half of the chickpeas, tomato and garlic and put it in the blender. You can also add some chilli at this point if you want a bit of extra kick.

Blitz it all together.

Fold the puree into the other tomatoes and chickpeas- you want a mix between smooth with some fun chunks.

Add some more salt or chilli or a dash of red wine vinegar if it needs a bit more personality.

You can serve it with some chorizo mixed through, or some wilted spinach leaves.

We had it with little floating croutons of french bread, topped with goats cheese and toasted under the grill.

We couldn’t quite leave all of Paris behind.

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  1. Thanks for good stuff

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