3kg/6lb 12oz very ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large pinch of dried red chilli flakes
1 very large bunch of basil
2 leaves gelatine (optional)
Put tomatoes and their juices in a pan with garlic, a little salt and chilli. Set over a low heat. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Cook for 40 minutes. Tear in basil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a colander into a clean bowl. Leave to drip for a good hour, but do not force the pulp. If you wish to gel the consommé, soften gelatine in cold water, squeeze dry and warm through in a small pan with a little of the tomato liquid to melt it, then stir it in.Now, either using a damp tea-towel or jelly-bag, strain the tomato liquid into a scrupulously clean bowl. It is best to support it well above the container. Allow to drip until it stops completely. The liquid should settle in the bowl and be clear. If there is sediment, simply pour off the clear liquid into another container. Serve chilled (or jellied) with a spoonful of crème fraîche, sharpened with a little lemon juice and sprinkle with basil leaves.