I made a fairly basic stock, but you can add other vegetables, pulses or herbs according to taste. And to save time, you can do as I did and make the stock the day before – then you only need an hour or so to make the soup.
1 large leek, white part, cut into large pieces
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
6 small potatoes, quartered
4 stalks celery, cut into chunks
4 tomatoes, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F). Lightly oil a large roasting pan.
Prepare vegetables, pile into roasting pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for one hour.
Add vegetables to a large saucepan with 2 1/2 litres (10 cups) water, 2 bay leaves and plenty of salt and pepper.
Simmer for 2 hours.
Place a colander over a large bowl to strain liquid, transfer to a closed container and refrigerate or freeze until use.
1.5kg (3 1/3lb) ripe tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 red bell pepper (capsicum)
1 green bell pepper (capsicum)
extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
2 litres (8 cups) vegetable stock
1 large baguette
6 large eggs (optional)
Chop tomatoes, dice onion and slice peppers (capsicums).
Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and fry for about 10 minutes, until soft.
Add peppers (capsicums) and cook for 10 minutes more.
Add tomatoes, increase heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes more, until the liquid has evaporated.
Crush garlic cloves and add to pot, along with cumin and cook for 10 minutes more.
Add stock, salt to taste and simmer for 15 minutes.
At this point, I used a blender to purée the soup, but this is not traditionally done.
Toast 3 slices of bread for each person and set aside.
To poach eggs, put a generously sized piece of cling film in a teacup, brush with oil, crack the egg into it, twist the plastic and tie it tightly, then drop into boiling water for 5 minutes.
Place 3 slices of toasted bread for each person into the bottom of a serving bowl, ladle very warm soup into the bowl then add the egg, if using.