Using the empty tomato tin as a measure, add two full tins of cold water. Mix together well, then simmer over a low-medium heat for an hour or so or until the soup has thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat, leave the soup to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth (or blend in the pan usinga hand-held blender).
Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Taste and season again if required.
To make the croûtons, toast the bread slices under a hot grill. Spread thickly with goat’s cheese, then grill again until the cheese is warmed through and slightly softened.
Ladle the soup into bowls and place a goats cheese croûton on top. Scatter a few thyme and extra basil leaves over, then add a final grinding of black pepper and serve piping hot.
BEEF AND BACON PIES
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 rashers free-range bacon, fat and
rind removed, cut into strips
500g lean minced free-range beef
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp barbecue or brown sauce
1 heaped tsp curry powder
1 heaped tsp freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
250ml beef stock
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 sheets good-quality puff pastry
1 free-range egg, mixed with 1 tbsp milk
handful poppy seeds
Rich shortcrust pastry
600g plain flour
250g unsalted butter,
chilled and cubed
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp iced water
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/gas 7. Grease the holes of two of the 12-hole mini-muffin tins, and the underside of the holes of the other two tins.
To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at low-medium speed for 5-6 minutes until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the egg and water and beat until the pastry forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface, then knead gently for five minutes, forming the dough into a ball as you go. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry to a thickness of three millimetres, then cut out 24 seven centimetre rounds and use these to line the mini-muffin tins. Prick each base with a fork once or twice, then place the empty mini-muffin tins on top to act as a weight for blind baking. Freeze for 30 minutes, then blind bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees/gas 6. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, then add the bacon and fry until the bacon is lightly browned and crispy.
Add the beef and cook for five minutes or until browned. Add the Worcestershire sauce, barbecue or brown sauce, curry powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Add the beef stock and cook for five minutes, then sprinkle the flour over the top and stir it in. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.