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Top Tip: Gourmet Garden herb and spice tubes

If you saw my recipe yesterday (cream of tomato and red pepper soup) you will have seen my pic showing the ingredients, and 2 little gems I found in Tesco – namely my Gourmet Garden crushed garlic paste and chopped basil paste tubes.

I don’t know how long these have been going, but I only came across them recently in my local village Tesco Metro, and they’ve been a quick and easy “no mess, no fuss” helper when cooking. One tsp is the equivalent of about 1 clove of garlic, or tsp of herbs, and they’re so easy to use. Best of all is no stained chopping board or stinky garlic fingers!

They were £1.69 a tube at my local Tesco, and not all branches stock all varieties (my little Tesco only has the garlic, basil and ginger, but they also have the Thai Spice Seasoning, Coriander Paste and Chilli Paste at the bigger Tesco up in Farnworth).

Apparenty they do make more pastes in the herbs and spices and in the seasoning mixes, if you visit their website:  you’ll see there’s quite a few, and there’s also info on what goes into them and how they’re made. They also have a handy “store locator” to show you who stocks them. It would seem that Ocado have the best range, but I don’t know if they deliver here. It would be easier if you could just buy them direct I suppose from their website. Maybe I’ll suggest that on their Facebook page!

Anyway, that’s my tip for today, off down to Tesco to buy more garlic paste!


Recipe: Cream of Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

I’ve had my lovely Andrew James soup maker for a few months now, (bargain at under £50!) and have used it’s various attachments (grinder, steamer) but not gotten around to using it for soups yet. So, this was a recipe test and road test in one. The machine worked brilliantly and the resulting soup was a big hit.
Here’s what I did…


2 large vine tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1 medium sweet potato
1 small white onion
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp vegetable boullion (dry powder)
3 tsp garlic puree
3 tsp basil puree
Drizzle of olive oil
500ml cold water

★ As per the machines instructions, chop all the veg into small cubes. (About 1-2cm)
★ Add the veg to the blender jug, taking care to no go over the “max soup” line.
★ Next add in the drizzle of oil, the vegetable boullion, and the garlic and basil puree, then pour the water in over the top. Easy-peasy!
★ Place the jug onto the base, press  the on/off button, and press the “Soup Smooth” button.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH.. (drumroll please…)


The machine makes a few beeps at you, then starts the cooking cycle.
It cooks first, then pulses and blends to give you a nice smooth soup.


★  After the cycle has finished, the machine beeps several times to let you know it’s done. This is where you add the coconut milk. Just pop off the lid, pour it in (or spoon if it’s a good quality thick one like I use) then press the “Blend” button to mix it in.
And you’re done!
Serve up while it’s hot with a sprinkle of grated parmesan on top.


Overall result?
Took about 40 minutes from getting everything out of the fridge to serving up.
I did have few little niggles with the machine: it’s a little fiddly to locate the jug correctly onto the base (however it helps if you actually read the instructions fully, as it tells you specifically how to attach it) but once I’d sussed it out its easy enough; and the beeper is a bit strident in my opinion, but other than that it was really easy to use.
I do like that fact that it is self-washing; makes cleaning it really easy and you’re not risking the ends of your fingers on those blades!
Also the “Re-heat” function is a great idea. I made this soup mid morning, but we have our lunch late most days, so I can just leave it in the jug and warm it up as required.
Would I Recommend It To A Friend?
Already have. And I’m thinking of getting one for someone for Christmas too. (Shhhh! )