Sorry for the rubbishy main photo. Wasn't really in the photographic mood - but it tastes good :D
I've made it without celery and it tastes great :)
I never use olive oil, I use Fry Light instead and it works just as well - healthier too ^^
I usually don't stick to the times on recipes so it could take less than the time there :)
If you make it please let me know what you think :)
Remove the vines and stalks from the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove any hard cores (they will not soften during cooking.)
Peel the onion and carrot and cut into small pieces. Do the same with the celery.
Heat the oil in the pan until you can feel the heat if you hover your hand over.
Tip in the onion, carrot and celery. With the heat on low, cook the vegetables until they are soft (roughly 10 minutes).
Add the tomato puree and stir it around so the vegetables turn red. Add the tomatoes, sugar, grind a little bit of black pepper and add the bay leaves.
Mix everything together and put the lid on the pan. Stew the tomatoes until they shrink - again, roughly 10 minutes.
Slowly add the stock, stirring at the same time. Bring to the boil, then return to a low heat with the lid on.
Cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. The tomatoes should be broken down and slushy looking.
Throw out the bay leaves. Ladle the soup into the blender, along with the basil leaves if using, and blitz until smooth.
Return to the pan and reheat. Taste a little and add salt,sugar and pepper accordingly.
And enjoy! :D
(If freezing, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating :) )