A spicy tomato soup with fresh basil served with a black olive tapenade crouton.
Preheat the oven to 180'C.
For the croutons: Cut the French stick into thin slices. Coat in olive oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.
For the tapenade: Blitz the olives with the garlic, anchovies and enough olive oil to make a paste. Smear some tapenade on each crouton.
For the soup:
Finely slice the shallot. Dice the red chilli and garlic cloves. Peel and roughly chop the tomatoes. Remove the leaves from the basil. Carefully cut the leaves and finely chop the stalks.
Heat a saucepan and add the olive oil. Cook the shallots with a pinch of salt until they are soft. Add the garlic, cumin, chilli, chopped basil stalks and tomato puree and cook for a further minute. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes and then the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Blitz in a food processor until smooth and then check the seasoning. Add more salt and black pepper if required. To finish the soup, drain the chickpeas and then warm them through in the soup. Before serving add the chopped basil leaves.
To serve: Pour the soup into bowls and float a tapenade topped crouton in the middle.
«This soup will taste best if made with very ripe tomatoes. Replace with good quality tinned tomatoes if they are not available.»