Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time 10-20 minutes
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large cooking apple (I used a Granny Smith), sliced into fine wedges
6 sun dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
500 ml water
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Cheddar or other hard cheese, or freshly made cream cheese (see note), optional
1/2 tsp dried basil
Fry the onion in a tablespoon of oil taken from the sun-dried tomatoes until they are soft.
Add the garlic and fry for a further minute or until just starting to colour.
Add the sun-dried and tinned tomatoes, and the apple wedges with the water and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Season with the salt and pepper to taste, and add the sugar if it is slightly tart. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes. The apple should be soft but still in wedges.
Add the dried basil and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Serve with a chunk of bread and a generous sprinkling of the grated cheese (see note).
If you prefer a thinner soup, liquidise adding a little more water if necessary. Reheat, then serve with a chunk of bread and a dollop of freshly made cream cheese.
To make the cream cheese, bring 1/2 litre of milk to a simmering point (the milk should just be starting to rise in the pan), add a tablespoon or so of white vinegar and, when the curds and whey have separated, strain the cheese through muslin or cheesecloth for 20-30 minutes, reserving the whey. Beat the curds with an electric whisk until smooth and creamy, adding a little whey if it seems too dry.