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Entries in tomato (27)


brown butter tomatoes

i’ve really struggled to find decent tomatoes this summer – the ones i planted are still green and i’ve been unable to pick a single one! as a result i’ve been looking for ways to oomph up the flavour of whatever i do buy.

tomato jam and parmesan are old favourites; mint, chilli and garlic oil is a new discovery and so too is brown butter. this food52 recipe couldn’t be simpler – melt you butter and continue cooking until the white solids begin to brown and the butter smells nutty. remove from the heat and pour over sliced tomatoes, season and eat quickly, while the butter is still warm. make sure you have some bread to hand to mop up the juices.

the flavour combination works incredibly well, although i think it’s best if your tomatoes are pretty good already, as there is nowhere for a lack of flavour or poor texture to hide.


aubergines with tomatoes and coriander 


last week i had four aubergines that needed using up. thankfully i remembered this wonderful nigel slater dish, which used up half of them.

he describes it as a “hot, clean and vibrant, a mouth-popping stew for scooping up with soft warm naan, or rice” and it is the sort of dish that i can easily become obsessed with – i think i made it weekly when i first found the recipe (back in 2003 apparently) and go through phases when i remember it and overindulge then need a break.

aubergines can be tricky and this is the first dish that i remember making which cooks them quite quickly and still tastes delicious – previously i’d had problems with quick-cook dishes and had decided that long and slow was the way forward. i think part of the reason this dish works so well as “a quick dish” is because the aubergines are salted and set aside for half an hour before rinsing and then cooking. traditionally aubergines were salted to draw out bitter juices, which is something that modern varieties don’t need. however, it does soften them and this is why it’s a step worth keeping in with some recipes (this being a prime example).

the chillies i used in this were fierce which meant i needed to add some greek yoghurt to cool things down. whether or not you need or want to do the same is up to you. ideally i’d make it without.

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a special mozzarella and tomato salad

the buffalo mozzarella and vine tomato salad that i had at the little gloster has been on my mind a lot. thankfully a version of it has also been on my table a lot over the past week.

at the heart of this dish are three things:

  • rich, creamy buffalo mozzarella - or you could use burrata for a double-dose of indulgence.
  • delicious tomatoes - not so easy to find with the dreadful weather we’ve had (my tomato bushes have barely got going this year) but i’ve been using isle of wight oak-roasted tomatoes to bump the flavour of the dish as  whole (slow-roasted or sunblush would also do the trick).
  • a dressing of lemon zest, chopped fresh mint, chopped red chilli, a little garlic (i’ve used smoked garlic or black garlic to soften the flavour) plus good olive oil

sometimes i’ve added a few dressed salad leaves and other times i’ve left it just as tomatoes and mozzarella. if you can manage it, don’t use all the mozzarella or dressing as these, left overnight to marinate, make a wonderful toast topping.

and if you want another recipe for tomato and mozzarella salad, try this version, which is oomphed up with  parmesan, mint, basil and tomato jam.


slow-roasted lamb with mediterranean vegetables and feta

this is the perfect dish for a hot sunny day when you really don’t want to have to put too much effort into knocking up something delicious. it was inspired by a picture i saw in a magazine and is very simple to make.

slow roasted lamb is the starting point – i used neck (which has the advantage of being cheap) which was roasted with onions, garlic, lemon and herbs. having said that, i have plans to repeat this dish next weekend, when our house has filled up with olympic visitors, using a shoulder of lamb. you can also use leftovers – just wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven, i don’t think the meat needs to be particularly hot.

about 40 minutes before the meat is ready and you want to eat, put a tray of chunked mediterranean vegetables into the oven – aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, fennel were my choices. season with salt, pepper and a few chilli flakes plus the juice of a lemon (add the lemon to the tray as well, sliced into centimetre pieces – it will caramelise and add a lovely flavour) and olive oil.

once everything is ready i piled the vegetables onto a serving platter, topped with the lamb (take it off the bone if you use a leg or shoulder), plus crumbled feta cheese, grated lemon zest and some shredded mint and/or basil. serve with a green salad, some hummus and flat breads, for scooping everything up.


salmon with cherry tomatoes and black garlic

this pasta dish was just lovely when we had the recent spell of mild sunny weather. i marinaded some salmon in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and then grilled it until it was just cooked. the flaked salmon and its juices were mixed with chopped cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, black garlic (roasted would also be nice), a little red chilli and some pasta. add extra olive oil or lemon juice to taste and then tuck in.