- Do not get upset if I say 'peel and deseed tomatoes'. It really isn't that traumatic.
- Chop a red onion into little squares and fry gently in olive oil.
- Chop your lovely tomato flesh into cubes and add to the onion. Mix, then leave them to it for five minutes on a lowish heat.
- Put a bit of hot vegetable stock in, then add salt, pepper and sugar (my sugar is often jealous of my salt, so I use a bit in savoury dishes and always post it in bold).
- Leave the cooker on low so everything comes together gradually, and your tomato squares stay intactish.
- I took a little soup out, whizzed it, then poured it back in. The rest of the soup looked pretty relieved.
- Meanwhile, slice mozzarella, put it on some sturdy, seasoned bread (I used light rye) and cut into cubes.
- Heat olive oil, and place your cheesy pieces carefully into the pan, bread side down bien sûr.
- Serve the soup with the double-sided croûtons (some right side up, some upside down) and fresh basil.
What did it taste like? Miraculously, just as I wanted. Fresh and light and tomatoey. The cheese on the upside down croûtons had oozed kindly into the soup, their crispy, olive-oil bottoms unsoggied and delicious.
Tip: For the croûtons: there should be some sizzle as you lower the bread into the oil, but don't have the pan too hot; you want to leave them in there long enough to let the heat rise up and start melting the cheese, without burning their bready underbellies.