FoodSauces and Condiments

Tomatoes Are The Love Apples Of Every Cook’s Life

Tomatoes are also affectionately known as love apples and what an apt name for an ingredient so popular and so versatile. They can be used in salads, in sauces, as a garnish, fried, grilled, pickled, dried, made to a paste or passata, canned, and used as a colouring for pasta.

Even eaten plucked straight from the vine in the garden, they are most delicious. These days you can find so many different varieties and colours of tomatoes, ranging from green to yellow, black, purple and of course the most common: deep, rich, vibrant, ripe red.

Whatever the colour, the flavour of tomato may be diverse but each and every one is equally delicious, sweet and tasty. Here are a few ideas for what you can do with tomatoes. If all else fails, just fry a few thick slices smooshed onto toast of your choice. You can’t go wrong.

Mexican Tomato Sauce


Servings: 2-3   Time: 40 mins   Difficulty: Easy 

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add the vegetable oil to a medium-sized pot over a medium heat
  2. Add the onion and red pepper and fry for approximately 10 minutes until soft
  3. Add the crushed garlic, cumin seeds, diced tomatoes and chilli flakes
  4. Simmer gently for 20 minutes
  5. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with coriander leaves

Bright Ideas

Serve layered with tortilla chips and grated cheese.

Make wraps with smashed avo and strips of cooked steak or chicken, with shredded lettuce and grated cheese.

Toss through some mince and black beans for a light Chilli Con Carne.


Baked Tomato Nests


Servings: 4   Time: 30 mins   Difficulty: Easy 

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan or manchego cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Cut a slice off the top of the tomatoes
  3. Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out pulp and seeds, taking care not to pierce through the shells
  4. Turn the tomato shells upside down on paper towel and leave to drain for 15 minutes
  5. Season the insides of the tomatoes with salt and pepper
  6. Place the tomato shells in an ovenproof dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer
  7. Carefully break one egg into each tomato shell
  8. Top each shell with 1 tablespoon of cream and 1 tablespoon of grated cheese
  9. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are just set

Bright Ideas

Serve for breakfast or brunch or alongside a grilled steak.


Tangy Tomato Relish


Servings: 4   Time: 1 hour   Difficulty: Easy 

Ingredients

  • 500g cherry or small roma tomatoes
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 pieces preserved stem ginger
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Coarsely chop the ginger
  2. Thinly slice the lime then chop into small pieces (don’t remove the rind)
  3. Place the whole cherry tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, ginger, lime and salt into a saucepan
  4. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves
  5. Simmer rapidly for 45 minutes
  6. Stir every now and then until the liquid has evaporated and the relish is thick and pulpy
  7. Allow the relish to cool for about 5 minutes then spoon into sterilised jars
  8. Store in the fridge for up to 6 weeks

Bright Ideas

You’ll love this relish with grilled or fried lamb or pork.

Also goes really well with oily fish like mackerel.


Classic Margherita Pizza


Servings: 2   Time: 1 hour 30 mins   Difficulty: Easy 

Ingredients for tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 150g mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for pizza base

  • 2 cups strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon rapid /instant dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅔ cup warm water

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius
  2. Place the pizza base dry ingredients into a bowl
  3. Add the oil and water
  4. Mix to a soft dough and knead for 10 minutes
  5. Cover and put into a warm place until doubled in size
  6. Start making the sauce by frying the onion and garlic for 5 minutes in half of the oil
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and cook for 5 minutes
  8. Stir in the basil and seasoning and set aside
  9. Go back to the dough and knead lightly for 5 minutes
  10. Roll out into a round and place on a baking sheet
  11. Use a spoon to evenly spread the tomato topping over the base
  12. Cut the mozzarella cheese and fresh tomatoes into thick slices
  13. Arrange them in a circle alternating the cheese with the tomato slices
  14. Roughly tear the basil leaves and add to the pizza
  15. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining oil
  16. Season well
  17. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden
  18. Serve immediately

Bright Ideas

If you’re in a rush, use a store-bought pizza base.


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