I discovered this very eloquent cooking show sometime ago. I suppose when I say eloquent cooking, it unmistakably has to be BBC’s. ‘The Delicious Miss Dahl’ presented by Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of one of my favourite authors, Roald Dahl. Not that she doesn’t have an identity of her own – once a supermodel, now a writer and also apparently a great cook, among other things.
The 6 episodes have been compartmentalized into Selfish, Romance, Nostalgia, Melancholy, Escapism and Celebratory, which is what food is all about if you actually think about it. I love the show for it’s handpicked music on the background, the charming kitchen, of porcelain kettle, Victorian tea cups, pastel egg holders and sprightly flowers stacked in a vase, little scraps of recipes in a folder, the sheer curtains that dance to the breeze ever so gracefully and more importantly her narrative of food interspersed with beautiful prose. It’s great how she reads out verses from books to exude the mood of the show and express why she is cooking what she is cooking. She is evocative and you can tell she is Mr Dahl’s granddaughter when she speaks of ice cream castles and chocolate paint 🙂
In the episode Nostalgia, Sophie talks about homesickness and how much she craved England while she was in New York. And she makes this creamy tomato soup with twice baked potato. I wasn’t homesick for England, I mean, I’ve never ever been there but there was something so soothing about this soup and those baked potatoes that I wanted to make it myself.
It is the kind of soulful, unpretentious food that you want to eat just to feel instantly better. The cooking is simple and instinctive, you don’t need a plan. Other than halving your tomatoes and onions and throwing them into a tin, you can let the oven do it’s work. This is a soup that is also testament to the fact that not all soups that are creamy, have cream.
I might have changed a thing or two with the ingredients but I think I have managed to adapt the recipe anyway.
For the baked pototoes
- 4 large potatoes
- 200 g Gouda cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp fresh cream
- 30 g butter
- Fresh chives, finely chopped (you can use dried)
- 1 egg, beaten
For the tomato soup
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes (8-10), halved
- 2 big onions, peeled and halved
- 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- 1 tbsp mixed, dried herbs
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- In a 190 C oven, bake the potatoes by just placing them on the rack for about an hour and a half. The skins have to be a little shriveled when they are done.
- Meanwhile, in a deep roasting tin/pan, stack the halved tomatoes, onions and garlic. Sprinkle the mixed herbs, sea salt and pepper. Bathe them in extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the sugar on top.
- Once the potatoes are done, roast these tomatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes.
- Halve the baked potatoes. Using a spoon, scoop out the potato from the skin. Save the skins.
- Mash the potatoes well. Add the grated cheese and fresh cream. Mix well. Sprinkle the chopped chives. Pour the beaten egg. Mix well. Save some cheese to sprinkle over the top at last.
- Now, spoon back the potato mixture into the saved skins.
- By this time the tomatoes should have been done. Take them out and bake the potatoes again for 20 minutes until they slightly golden and risen.
- Squeeze the garlic out from its skin. Blend the roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic along with the oil and herbs. Warm the blended puree in a sauce pan. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
- Scoop out some of that decadent cheese potato, dip it in the soup and have a mouthful.