Tomato Basil Soup Recipe

The season of soup has arrived.  As a tea lovers you may be unaware that soup can be elegantly served for afternoon tea.  In order to inspire you I have posted a brief history of soup and then a personal homemade soup recipe perfect for afternoon tea.

Generally, soup is served as a first course or with a salad with a luncheon tea or in afternoon tea.  Creative cups such as glass punch cups or open tea mugs can connect the food with the theme of the event.  Toasting and floating a bit of cheese toast in the shape of a star or even a teapot can add to the festivities.


A Word About Soup:

Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 6,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers (which probably came in the form of clay vessels or pouches made of animal skin) about 9,000 years ago. Soup can be made out of broth or a form of liquid.

The word soup comes from French soupe (“soup”, “broth”), which comes through Vulga Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.

The word restaurant (meaning “[something] restoring”) was first used in France  in the 16th century, to describe a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion.   In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant to describe the shops.

Dr. John T Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company, invented condensed soup in 1897. Today, Campbell’s Tomato,  Cream of Mushroom, and Chicken Noodle Soup  are three of the most popular soups in America. Americans consume over  2.5 billion bowls of these three soups alone each year. Canned Italian-style soups, such as minestrone or Italian wedding are also popular, and are sold by Progresso and other brands.

Canned soup can be condensed, in which case it is prepared by adding water (or sometimes milk), or it can be “ready-to-eat,” meaning that no additional liquid is needed before eating. Canned soup (condensed with liquid added, or “ready-to-eat”) can be prepared by heating in a pan, on the stovetop or in the microwave Such soups can be used as a base for homemade soups, with the consumer adding anything from a few vegetables to eggs, vegetables, cream or pasta.

Condensing soup allows soup to be packaged into a smaller can and sold at a lower price than other canned soups. The soup is usually doubled in volume by adding a “can full” of water or milk (about 10 ounces).

Since the 1990s, the canned soup market has burgeoned with soups marketed as “ready-to-eat,” which require no additional liquid to prepare. Microwaveable bowls have expanded the ready-to-eat canned soup market even more, offering convenience (especially in workplaces) and are popular lunch items.

Now that you know more about soup here is a great homemade recipe to get you started!


Tea Party Soup


Homemade Tomato Basil Soup – A Tea Girl Recipe


2 Medium Yellow Onions – diced

3 Green Onions – diced

28 ounces Vegetable or Chicken Stalk

1 Jalapeno (seeds removed and diced)

1 Tbls Oil

4 Cups of Tomatoes (fresh or diced canned)

3 Tbls Dried Basil

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 TBS Lemon Juice

1 Can Tomato Paste

1 28 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup of Orzo (Italian noodle)


Heat a large dutch oven and add your oil.  Saute your onions, green onions, jalapeno, basil and salt and pepper.  When the onion is clear add the rest of the ingredients excluding the Orzo.  Heat till boiling.  Leave cooking at low boil, stir for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.  In the last 20 minutes add the Orzo.  Raise the temperature of the soup to boil then lower it again to simmer for the last 20 minutes.  Serve soup hot.  If you like it thicker wait till it cools and reserve.  This soup will become thicker as the noodles expand.

This is delicious with a cheese and herb scone and a cup of Keemun tea.  You and your guests will love it.