This tomato soup is lovely cold these days.

If you grow your own tomatoes this is a good way to use them. Make extra and save some.

The key to this recipe is good tomatoes and I like the San Merzano.

A lot of people are getting into bread making. Sourdough is a tricky one to get right. We make it every day in the restaurant and practice helps.

Risotto with petit pois and smoked bacon. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

Drinagh on the Beara Peninsula in west Cork make a lovely everyday cheddar. It is rare to be able to pinpoint exactly were the milk comes from.

This risotto is a great one-pan dish that I made regularly at home. It works as lunch or dinner and you could use grilled chicken or fish. O’Neills in Wexford make very good lardons.

I always keep peas in the freezer. They are so useful.

Happy cooking,



Instant tomato soup with sourdough cheese toasties

Serves four to six

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 × 400g (14oz) tins of Italian chopped tomatoes

Good pinch of caster sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sourdough cheese toasties:

100g (4oz) butter

8 slices of sourdough bread (from a large cob loaf)

2 tbsp plain flour

200ml (7fl oz) milk

175g (6oz) Gruyère or mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard

To garnish:

Snipped fresh chives

  • 1 To make the soup, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden.
  • 2 Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavours are well combined.
  • 3 Blitz the soup with a hand-held blender until smooth.
  • 4 Meanwhile, to make the cheese toasties, preheat the grill to medium-hot and melt the butter in a small pan. Brush one side of each slice of bread with some of the melted butter, then toast under the grill, butter side up, for 1-2 minutes, until crisp and golden. Set aside.
  • 5 Stir the flour into the rest of the butter and cook for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Simmer for a few minutes, until thickened, then take off the heat and stir in one-quarter of the cheese, until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 6 Spread four of the untoasted sides of the bread with mustard, then top with the rest of the cheese. Grill for a couple of minutes, until the cheese has melted. Top with the rest of the bread, toasted side up, pressing down gently.
  • 7 Put on a foil-lined grill tray and top with the cheese sauce. Grill for about 5 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Slice in half on the diagonal and put on plates.
  • 8 If you think the soup is too thick, add a little water, then reheat gently. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with snipped fresh chives, then put on plates with the cheese toasties alongside to serve.
  • Risotto with petit pois and smoked bacon

    Risotto with petit pois and smoked bacon. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    Serves four to six

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    1 large onion, finely chopped

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    100g (4oz) piece of rindless streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons

    450g (1lb) Arborio (risotto) rice

    About 1.5 litres (2½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)

    450g (1lb) frozen petit pois (or just use regular frozen peas, depending on what you have)

    50g (2oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra shavings to serve

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Heat the rapeseed oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not coloured.
  • 2 Add the bacon or pancetta and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Increase the heat, stir in the rice and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring continuously, until the rice is opaque and fragrant.
  • 3 Meanwhile, pour the stock into a separate pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add a ladleful of stock to the rice and cook gently, stirring, until absorbed. Continue to add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each addition of stock to be almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful, until the rice is al dente (tender with a slight bite). This should take about 20 minutes.
  • 4 About 2 minutes before the risotto is ready, stir in the petit pois or peas and allow to finish cooking.
  • 5 Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Leave to rest and swell a little more for 3 minutes. Ladle into warmed shallow bowls and scatter over the Parmesan shavings to serve.