Tomato consommé with Lancashire cheese on toast

Lisa Allen, head chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Northcote, uses the best local ingredients for this elegant soup

  • Prep:40 mins
    Cook:2 hrs 25 mins
    Plus draining
  • Serves 6
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 373
  • fat 17g
  • saturates 7g
  • carbs 41g
  • sugars 25g
  • fibre 7g
  • protein 13g
  • salt 3.21g


  • 3kg ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 175ml white wine
  • 750ml tomato juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • fresh picked herb leaves and small sprigs, such as chervil, baby basil, baby sorrel, snipped chives and small salad leaves, to serve
  • 18 baby plum tomatoes, peeled
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 25g butter, plus an extra 15g
  • 25g plain flour
  • 100ml milk
  • 175g Lancashire cheese, such as Leagram's organic, grated
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 100ml pale ale, such as Bowland Brewery Sky Dancer
  • ½ tsp English mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 slices medium white bread from a sliced loaf, crusts removed, each slice halved lengthways into rectangles approx 3½ cm wide x 9cm long


  1. Put the tomatoes for the consommé into a very large saucepan. Add the remaining consommé ingredients, except the herbs and leaves, then simmer on a low heat for 2 hrs.

  2. Line a large sieve with cheesecloth. Set it over a very large bowl, then carefully pour the liquid through. Leave to slowly drain but, to ensure the consommé stays clear, do not press tomatoes. Set aside. (The tomatoes can be puréed to make a sauce for pasta, then frozen for later use.)

  3. Put tomatoes for marinating into a small bowl. Squeeze over a little lemon juice, dust with the icing sugar and 2 pinches of salt, then pour over the 2 tsp oil. Marinate briefly while you prepare the cheese on toast.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Melt the 25g butter in a medium pan, add the flour, then stir for 2-3 mins over a low heat to cook the flour. Remove from heat, then gradually stir in milk. Return to the heat and stir briefly until thickened to a thick paste. Stir in the cheese, beating well until it has melted to a smooth paste. Take off the heat, beat in the egg yolk, then set aside. In a small pan, bring the ale, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to a boil, then bubble over a high heat for 8-10 mins until reduced to a thick consistency (you should have about 1 tbsp thick liquid). Stir this into the cheese mixture, cover and cool. Melt the 15g butter. Brush one side of each bread slice with the butter, lay them on a baking sheet, butter-side up, then season with salt. Bake for 10-12 mins until golden and crisp. (Both sauce and toasted bread can be prepared a day ahead. Chill sauce until required, keep toast wrapped in foil.)

  5. To serve, heat the grill. Spread the cheese mix thickly and evenly over each slice of toast (you will have some left over for another time), then lay them on a baking tray. Grill until golden. Meanwhile, gently heat the consommé. Place 3 marinated tomatoes in the bottom of each serving bowl. Scatter a few herbs on top of the tomatoes, then drizzle around a little olive oil. Pour in enough consommé to just cover the tomatoes, then scatter over a few more herbs and leaves. Serve with the hot cheese on toast on the side.

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