James St Cookery School: Two store-cupboard soups you can make in lockdown

Tomato, basil and bread soup by James St Cookery School

THIS week’s recipes are made up of some of the most common ingredients you could find in your cupboard, with some fresh vegetables added in for a health boost.

They serve four but just increase the measurements if you're feeding a family or if making dishes last for a couple of days is of benefit, as it may be to many people balancing working from home, parenting and home-schooling at the moment.

Freezing is not recommended but these soups will easily stay fresh for a day or two after cooking – in fact, I’d say they taste better the next day.

And they're easy enough recipes to get little ones involved in the preparation – so another possible source of distraction / entertainment for cooped-up kids.


(Serves 4)

1.5kg of ripened tomatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 large thick slice of sourdough bread (or similar)

1 bunch of basil, picked

Parmesan cheese, shaved to serve

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


Place a large pot of water on the hob and bring to the boil. Pierce the tomatoes with the tip of a knife and add to the water. Leave to simmer for one minute, then drain the water and peel the tomatoes.

Heat four or five tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan; add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Dice the peeled tomatoes, then add to the pan.

Add 400ml of water and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for up to 30 minutes and taste; season more if you wish. At this stage, add the picked basil leaves, chop up the bread and stir into the soup. When ready, serve with shaved Parmesan.


(Serves 4)

250g of dried chickpeas

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely diced

1 sprig of rosemary, picked

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes

400g of tinned tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1.5 litres of vegetable stock

100g of small pasta shapes

Sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Parmesan cheese, shaved to serve


First, soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight. Once you are ready to begin, drain and place the chickpeas in a large saucepan filled with water. Place the saucepan on the hob and bring to the boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat and cook for 45 minutes until the chickpeas are tender. Then drain and set to the side.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, then add the onion, garlic and herbs and cook until the onions become translucent and soft. Turn up the heat and add in the tomatoes, tomato puree, chickpeas and stock and bring back to the boil. Add in the pasta and reduce to a simmer and cook until the pasta is al dente.

Season with salt and pepper and a serve with a handful of Parmesan on top.

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