Venus’ Symphony in Red Soup

Happy 2021! Apologies for my radio silence – Covid19 got me and I was laid up for a few weeks with a hacking cough, sweats and absolutely no sense of taste or smell. My senses are back, but I wanted to stimulate my taste buds more… And this is where Venus came, not for the first time, to my rescue.

I first met Venus nearly 20 years ago when I was working for BBC New Media out of Bush House. In short she is a powerhouse – she leads by example, nurtures her team, cares deeply and is the ultimate media professional having led some big BBC digital projects to great success. Like many women at the BBC she had to suffer the misogyny and bullying which came with the territory back then and she dealt with it with magnificent elegance and no nonsense. She shines as an example for us all.

Venus & I at my BBC Leaving do in 2011

And this soup is her creation – I saw a picture of it on her Facebook timeline and started salivating, so I reached out and she shared the recipe. What I love about this recipe is that it has a short story behind it which is full of love, support and warmth. It’s very Venus, so here’s the story in her words.

“My partner has type 2 diabetes and wanted to sort out his nutrition, lose some weight and get into shape.  We decided to go on the NHS Diabetes Diet – Mainly 800 calories a day consisting of 2 shakes and a soup.  We tried their soup recipes, but after a couple of weeks we got bored, so I started creating new ones.  This one has been crafted over a couple of months.”

This soup is an absolute BANGER! It’s rich, velvety with the weight of garlic (you should be thinking that’s a lot of garlic… this is a good thing) and packs as much punch as you’d like with the addition of chilli flakes. It also looks so beautiful at every stage of preparation/cooking, a real symphony in red.

‘A Study in Red’ From top left – raw, prepped, roasted, ready to eat

Oh, and word to the wise, don’t monkey around with this recipe. It’s perfect the way it is. Just serve it with a heavily-buttered crusty roll and a garnish of your choice (I used crispy onions)

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’ by Elle King


  • 8 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 red onions roughly chopped
  • 2 large red peppers, chopped
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 300ml Vegetable stock
  • Thyme 
  • Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Chilli flakes
  • Rapeseed oil


  1. Heat your oven to 200 fan.
  2. Line your grill tray or large roasting dish with greaseproof paper and add the tomatoes, onions and peppers. Mix with your hands.
  3. Scatter over the garlic, some black pepper, a sprinkling of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a liberal sprinkling of your thyme and oregano. Sprinkle chilli flakes to taste (I went punchy).
  4. Drizzle over rapeseed oil and roast for 40-mins. 
  5. Once roasted add to a deep pan then add your veg stock. 
  6. Cool, then blend to required thickness with a hand blender.

Serve with a Monte da Peceguina Matilde 2016 – a punchy red that’ll make this dish perfect for those January nights

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