• 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 kg ripe plum tomatoes (halved)
  • 50 ml poitin or gin
  • 700 ml kitchen garden stock or water
  • pinch light muscovado sugar (optional)
  • 225 ml cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • crème fraiche and snipped fresh chives, to garnish


  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until golden. Add the tomatoes and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so until well heated through and just beginning to break down.
  • Pour the poitin or gin into the pan and allow to reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetable stock or water and allow to reduce by half again. Blitz with a hand blender to a smooth puree. Season to taste and add the sugar if you think the soup needs it.
  • To serve, add the cream to the soup and allow to warm through. Season to taste and ladle into warmed serving bowls. Garnish each bowl with a small dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkling of chives.
  • This is one of my favourite ‘empty larder’ recipes that requires little preparation and is quickly cooked. Poitin is a traditional Irish spirit that is made from potatoes. It is now sold under a number of commercial brands and really does have a unique flavour. Look out for it in Duty Free the next time you are passing through or gin is a good alternative.