Ho ho, Christmas is fast approaching. Have you bought disproportionate amounts of Linx body spray for your teenage relatives? Have you remembered the true meaning of Christmas as family and togetherness rather than unnecessary material possessions? Just checking!

Those of you who know what love means will simply adore this recipe. It’s superbly easy and delicious. Additionally, it is vegan – so you can have your soul warmed and feel good at the same time. So, here we go.

You’ll need a slow cooker and a hand held blender.


  • 500ml good tomato passata. The good stuff, from an Italian deli, or from Waitrose
  • 250ml white wine (quality of cooking wine doesn’t matter, go for the cheap non-sparkling stuff)
  • 500ml good quality vegetable stock
  • two celery sticks, chopped roughly
  • Two carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
  • One onion, chopped roughly
  • Two garlic cloves, crushed
  • 16 basil leaves, plus more for the final garnish
  • rock salt and pepper, to taste

The beauty of slow cooking food is that it takes almost no work. You combine everything in your slow cooker, or big old pot, and set it on low. Then you leave. If you are doing it in a pot, rather than a slow cooker, you may have to stay with it to make sure it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Equally, you don’t want the house to burn down.

When you come back from whichever nefarious event you attended (be it work or university), the house will be replete with delightful smells. Use the hand blender to reduce everything to a gorgeous smooth soupy texture.

Then, garnish it with some more basil leaves. Your soup is now ready to be consumed at terminal velocity.

If you want to make it even more splendid, make croutons. You’d need to cut some slices of bread (preferably homemade) and fry them in some olive oil until they are crispy. Watch that they don’t burn, mind.

This dish is wonderful for winter. It soothes all ills and warms the soul. I hope you enjoy it.