Meat Free Monday: Roasted Red Pepper, Brinjal and Tomato Soup with Naked Little Dumplings!

I am going to write this blog post – in real time. Normally I shop, cook and then blog adding in an ‘image’ of my day. So – today is all about change for me. I was walking this morning and decided that today I am going to change something. Not sure what yet – but my mode of blogging is a great place to start. As my feet were pounding away rhythmically on the pavement at 5.30am this morning I got to thinking about why I blog – and why after nearly two years – I am still blogging. My ‘cooksister’ ‘sista’ blogger, Jeanne Horak-Druiffs’ words came a-floating across my mind like an internet banner ….. Am I a cook that writes or am I a writer that cooks … after about 400 steps of Safri Duo’s Radio Cut Bongo Song … I have an answer? I do solemnly declare myself as being both! I can see everyone’s faces distorting as to the Universal Significance of my dalliance… lucky am I to REALLY enjoy BOTH – writing compliments my cooking that compliments my writing ……….. Just saying!!!

I have a big bag of beautifully ripe Ferrari red tomatoes to play with. Hubby is not going to be thrilled, (nb: list link to Mr Delivery here!) but I am thinking about slow roasting them in olive oil – fresh rosemary – fleur du sel (from Oep vir Koep) and loads of garlic … and this I think I will turn into tomato soup… fingers crossed. I confess that I was bought up on Heinz Cream of Tomato canned soup – and love it! Trickyricky on the other hand – won’t touch it! When Daniele & Max professed their undying love for the tinned spaghetti that was served for lunch at their pre-school, daddy nearly had an apoplexy!

Riccardo does not like tomato soup at all!! Ooops! HOWEVER, just because I AM NICE – I shall make some mushroom and spinach gnudi (pronounced New-dee and translated means ‘naked’ pl. nakeds!) to pop on the top of the soup ….. that will take care of the awesome fresh ricotta cheese I bought from l’Edicola and will look pretty in a pic AND turn my good old fashioned tomato soup .. Cue the music … Pavarotti singing O sole mio!!!!!

into ………..

Zuppa di Pomodori Arostiti con Gnudi al Funghi e Spinaci

Hehehe … a girls gotta do what girls …..


4 red peppers

2 – 3 chillies

10 very ripe tomatoes – tops cut off and quartered

Garlic – 1 head, top cut off skin left on

6 bay leaves

Fresh rosemary thyme and sage

Fleur du sel – if only you could get your hands on to some smoked salt!!

(Jan Sighs* gives a sideways look @ Sam Linsell and wishes that we could get

Her wonderful products here in eThekwini …)

Olive Oil

2 peeled onions cut into 8ths

250g baby brinjals – stalks cut off and halved

A squeeze of balsamic vinegar reduction

1Tbs of treacle sugar

Black pepper

2L of chicken or vegetable stock

I roasted the peppers on their own – they would burn if you put them in with tomatoes for 3 hours.

Pre-heat your oven to 220d and roast the red peppers for 25minutes at this temperature.

Remove them from the oven and put them into a plastic bag, remove all of the air and tie a knot to seal in the heat and steam.

Leave them to cool completely, and then remove the skins, stalks and pips.

Set aside.

Quarter the tomatoes and lay them into an oven proof tray.

Cut your onions into 8ths and slot them in between the tomatoes

Tuck in the garlic cloves – whole with skins on and all of your

Herbs, Bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and sage

Sprinkle with Fleur du Sel, freshly ground black pepper, about 1Tbs of treacle sugar, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction and a Drizzle with olive oil.

Cover with tin foil and pop into an oven @ 120d for 3 hours to slowly roast and

Maximise the tomato flavour.

After 3 hours, remove the tin foil,add in brinjals and put the heat in your oven up to

180d and roast uncovered for another hour.

Remove all of the stalks from the herbs and squeeze the sweet and soft roasted

garlic out of each clove.

Liquidise the roasted tomatoes& brinjal, red peppers with 2L of chicken or vegetable

stock until it’s nice and smooth and silky.

Now to make the little mushroom & spinach dumplings

to pop on the top.


Naked little dumplings


400g mushrooms finely chopped – the food processor is the best for this –

fried in a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper and cooled

1 large bunch of baby spinach – wilted, squeeze all of the water out and chop finely

250g ricotta cheese – drained of any excess water

1 egg

½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese

1tsp salt

1tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp grated nutmeg

3Tbs flour

In a bowl, use a fork to mash the ricotta cheese

Add the egg, mushrooms, pecorino cheese, spinach, salt, pepper, nutmeg and flour.

Taste for seasoning …

Using your hands combine this well to make sure that all of the ingredients

are evenly distributed.

Wet your hands and roll balls of this mixture into hazelnut sized dumplings.

I only made enough for the two of us – this gnudi mixture keeps very well

in the fridge – in a bowl covered with cling film.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

Pop half of the dumplings in – they will sink to the bottom

And in one minute they will rise to the surface –

Scoop them out with a slotted spoon to a platter and drizzle with a little

olive oil to stop them from sticking to each other.

Serve the soup with a few gnudi on top.

Well, this was a resounding success – both Trickyricky and I enjoyed this

soup so much that we had the left-overs for lunch the next day!

With basil pesto garnish and a few more gnudi freshly


What an amazing weekend we have had here on the East Coast – The Vodacom July

Fever – The iHeart Durban market – The Mr Price Pro –

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The Olympic Committee Converged on

the city – NOW i hear that The Prince & Princess of Monaco are on their way

over here to Durbs for their Honeymoon!!!! Miss Jade & Mum Brenda are

here and I AM IN AUNTY JANJAN HEAVEN – if I am a little quiet this week

it’s cos I am having too much fun with my niece!!!!!!

Loving it!!!!

Buon Appetito



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Scorpio, RED WINE, Dalmatians, VINO, my men, Mamma Estraordinaria, massive pots of pasta, la famiglia, candle light, designer Handbags, Adult Survivor, Red Lipstick, writing, drumming, painting, red RED and Pasta .... lots of it!