This is sweet and tangy, with the almonds adding a delicious creaminess. The amount of almonds you use – within reason – probably doesn’t matter too much: it depends whether you want your soup to really taste of almonds. I find that just 50g adds sufficient creaminess and, very subtly, enhances the sweetness of the roast peppers.
PS: the fetching plastic mug in the photo is a new purchase from Sistema (I had to make something to test it out). It successfully cradled my soup to work today (sprint for the train, a 20 minute march into the city and then haphazardly left/kicked under my desk for an hour until I remembered to put it in the fridge) – no leaks.
- Soak the almonds in water first and leave to the side.
- Deseed the peppers and cut into quarters. Mingle in a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, fresh rosemary if you have any and the unpeeled garlic cloves (remove any wisps of the outer, papery white skin though, leaving the pinkish inner skin).
- Roast for 30 minutes; check halfway through and redistribute the peppers to ensure even roasting. Prod the garlic cloves to make sure they are not drying out; they should be soft and squidgy when cooked.
- After 30 minutes, drain the almonds and rinse with water. Throw into the roasting peppers and cook for 15 extra minutes.
- Meanwhile, dice the onions and fry for 5-10 minutes. You can let the mixture ‘sweat’ (gently cook with the saucepan lid on).
- When the pepper and almond mix has finished cooking, squeeze out the soft garlic from each clove into the onions. Add the charred rosemary sprigs, running your fingers up the twiggy stems to dislodge the needles and then discard the woody parts. Tip in the roasted peppers and give everything a good stir.
- Add 1.2 litres of boiling water in which you have dissolved the stock and simmer for about 10-15 minutes; just enough to soften the almonds and allow the peppers and onions to intersperse their flavours.
- Blend; about 5 minutes should do it. Once you have a smooth puree, taste for seasoning; it shouldn’t need much salt, if any, due to the vegetable bouillon powder – but a good grind of black pepper is a must. Add the lemon juice and garnish accordingly.