1kg Ripe Tomatoes (I used a mixture of plum tomatoes, vine tomatoes and cherry tomatoes)
1 bulb Garlic
1 stick Celery
1 Small Carrot
2 Banana Shallots
1/2 - 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (NB if your vinegar is 'strong' reduce the amount.)
1 handful Basil (Stems chopped, leaves retained for garnish)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
500ml Stock (Marigold works well, as does fresh chicken stock)
1 teaspoon Sugar
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthway and place them cut side up on a baking tray. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle a little of the olive oil over them retaining about a teaspoon. Cut the head off the garlic bulb and wrap the whole thing in tinfoil
Place them and the garlic bulb in a preheated oven at 190c for around an hour till the tomatoes are soft and the edges are starting to char
Finely dice the celery, carrot and shallot and place in a large stockpot with the remainder of the oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes over a gentle heat till the mix starts to soften. Put to one side until the tomatoes are ready
Add the tomatoes and all the juices to the mixed vegetables. Using a fork, squeeze out all the softened garlic into a bowl and discard the skin and root. Add the garlic paste to the tomato mixture. Add in the basil stems
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cook for around 20 minutes before blending with a stick blender. Check the seasoning and add half the balsamic before checking again. If you like, add a teaspoon or so of sugar (I don't usually find I need to do so) and add the rest of the balsamic and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot or cold garnished with fresh basil leaves and your choice of croutons, creme fraiche, greek yoghurt or crispy garlic.