Fresh Tomato Soup

2 cups tomatoes
2 tbsps oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 small chicken stock cube, crumbled
cup water
tsp whole black peppercorns;

1. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove cores from tomatoes, cut small crosses at opposite ends.  Place tomatoes in medium saucepan with enough boiling water to cover tomatoes.  Boil for about 30 seconds; strain immediately, place into bowl of iced water, peel away skin.

2. Chop tomatoes roughly.

3. Heat oil in medium saucepan.  Add garlic and onion, stir over heat for 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes then remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, simmer 25 minutes.  Discard bay leaf; blend or process mixture.

Hint: This soup can be served hot or cold; swirl in a little cream, sour cream, or yoghurt just before serving if you prefer.

     Serves 4.