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Thursday, 17 November 2011

A foody friday

(but a little early)

Close your eyes.. Imagine you're in the kitchen. A warm , wintery, fuggy kitchen .Inhale. The sweetness of roasted tomato, the pungency of garlic, the sheer summery tang of basil, and the seductive plummy whoosh of red wine.

That's my kitchen as I come to the end of the tomato season.As I've said on an earlier post, the tomatoes were late to ripen, and most of them have had to turn red on the windowsills.The first ones basked in the sun rather smugly I thought, but within days, more were jostling for pole position in direct sunlight.

I'm sure they were breeding, they seemed to multipy - there wasn't one single windowsill in the cottage free of them and an alarming amount decided to ripen all at once.

Lycopene is supposed to be very good for I 'm feeling very virtuous at the moment. And versatile..At least when it comes to cooking tomatoes.....

Two of the simplest ways to use lots of them up have been the tastiest according to the gang of four (the rest of my family)

Roasted tomato with basil...

Place sliced tomatoes in a ceramic dish, overlapping each other.
Tuck some fresh basil leaves in between them.
Throw a glug of exra virgin olive oil over them, add salt and black pepper and grate some parmesan cheese over the top.Wang in the oven at 190 degrees fahrenheit or gas mark 5 for about 20 - 25 minutes.

As the meerkats would say - SIMPLES! (It's an ad campaign in the UK , fronted by meerkats who talk , for those of you who are wondering what the hell I'm talking about.)

I've also been making quite alot of pasta sauce to put in the freezer...again , so simple to make, and it's a firm family favourite.

A gutsy tomato sauce

First of all line a roasting pan or baking sheet with aluminium foil. Cut about 10- 12 tomatoes in half , put on the foil cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil.

Wrap a small bulb of garlic (do not skin) in aluminium foil and place in the middle of the tomatoes.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.Throw the tomatoes into a liquidiser, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins , add them to the food processor and then add a third of a glass of red wine, and about 6 or 7 basil leaves..Whizz into a thick sauce.

Job done. That's it. As the children used to say easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
And you will have the gutsiest, garlicky sauce which you can simply pair with your favourite pasta and top with parmesan.

Or, sometimes I saute courgettes , mushrooms and peppers and add to the sauce, or add mince.

There are just a couple of caveats when making this sauce.

The first is , don't add too much red wine. Difficult I know.But with this sauce if you do add too much wine, and I have in the past, it makes the sauce too thin and looks unappetising. Unless you're a vampire that is....

Secondly, do remember to make sure the lid of the liquidiser is firmly on. I didn't (only once mind you, and it was the first time I made it) and the kitchen looked like a crime scene. A little tomatoey pasta sauce , like blood, goes a long way!

And the the last not eat this sauce if you 're going out on the pull. You will have liked eating this sauce, but those you may kiss at the end of the night won't.Especially if they are vampires...

So what have I done with the rest of the tomatoes that I simply can't eat this week?


Today's track.....nothing to do with tomatoes whatsoever! Just one of my favourite songs,from an amazing album...and as I sit in the kitchen ., on my favourite wicker chair with a glass of wine, this is playing.....


  1. I had to look lycopene up on Wiki but I now know that it's the red in tomatoes that's good for us. Two easy recipes here that I'll have to try as our fridge is overflowing with tomatoes from Mr A's greenhouse right now.

    I'd never heard this track before. It's lovely and it may not have anything to do with tomatoes but [Damien] Rice could replace the pasta. [See what I did there!]

  2. I don't have a tomato surplus but I do have a tomato obsession, so you've inspired me to indulge it some more! What are you going to do with the frozen ones?

    Also that Damien Rice song is lovely x

  3. Hi Ros,hi Ballon whisk (couldn't resist emailing a balloon whisk!)

    So glad you both like the Damien Rice track....I love his work...and as for the tomatoes in the freezer....well, I shall probably make some more sauce as when I need some, but I might make some tomato chutney .Haven't decided yet!