Tomato, Fennel and Arak Soup


Gee it seems like ages since I made anything. But it has only been a couple of days.

We’ve been under a lot of pressure to get the boat finished and have basically been eating shop bought dips and cheese and bread for 5 days while we put in lots of hours sanding and painting – desperately trying to get it finished before we move it next Saturday.

That said – there were some ingredients in the fridge that needed using up – and there were still three recipes left to make from Veggiestan – so I made this.

Just in case you’re wondering, Arak is an anise-flavored distilled alcoholic beverage traditional to Lebanon, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Ouzo, Pernod, Rakir are acceptable substitutes. I have Rakir and Pernod – but for my soup I used Pernod as I figured it had more of an aniseed taste.

I don’t usually make soups – especially when the weather in the UK has been pretty good and salad inducing. I leave soups to my mother-in-law. She has a Thermomix (which I bought her a year ago) and this makes amazing soup with next to no mess – so generally soups are left to her. This one caught my eye simply because it contained alcohol.

It’s trivial to make this. Chop some red peppers, fennel, tomatoes, onions, garlic and soften. Add some stock, spices and alcohol and simmer until it’s done.

This is really chunky and really tasty. Fennel is an amazing vegetable and people just don’t use it enough. I stirred in some creme fraiche at the end and I think it spoiled it a bit – so the second bowl I left it out and it was much better.

The ingredients for this recipe are often left over after a weeks cooking – so I think I’d probably contemplate making this each time – it took less than an hour – and I imagine it’ll keep quite well. It might even be good cold as a kind of Gazpacho.

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