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Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’

Greek salad

Perfect with many Greek dishes, but none mores than barbecued lamb cutlets or kebabs/souvlaki. You could also serve it as as starter with some crusty bread. A very popular salad in our house when the days get warmer. In fact, we blogged it here a few years ago and it’s still a firm favourite.

Greek Salad – serves 4

  • 450g ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a cucumber
  • 1 red onion (we only use half an onion)
  • 200g Greek feta cheese
  • 4½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ouzo/Pernod
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 20 small black olives
  • large pinch of dried oregano – Greek if you can find it

Cut the tomatoes into chunky pieces and cut the cucumber in half lengthways and then across into thick slices. Slice the red onion as thinly as possible (a mandolin is good for this if you have one). Crumble the feta into chunky pieces.

To make the dressing whisk the olive oil, ½ tsp salt, the red wine vinegar, ouzo/Pernod and some black pepper in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and onions and toss gently. Add the feta, dill and olives and mix briefly.

Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with the dried oregano and some coarsely ground black pepper.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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Spaghetti al cartoccio

This starter portion of pasta is perfect for entertaining as it can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and finished off in the oven when required. We had this as a second course after broad bean bruschetta and followed by barbecued balsamic beef and then home-made ice cream and summer berry compote for dessert.

Wine Suggestion: lovely with a slightly chilled red, and naturally, given the inspiration from the food we’d suggest Italian. A light, lively, youthful and fruity Sangiovese hits the spot in the form of a Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo given 30-40 minutes in the fridge before serving; chilled but not ice cold. The fresh acidity works perfectly with the fresh tomatoes and olives and the combination speaks to us of summer.

Pasta al Cartoccio – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 450g ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 280g dried spaghetti
  • 100g large black olives
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 30x20cm.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove the garlic, then add the tomatoes and chilli and season well. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan oven 180C.

Cook the spaghetti in salted water for half the time given on the pack, then drain well.

Add the olives and half the parsley to the tomato sauce and stir in the pasta. Taste and season to taste.

Divide the spaghetti between the pieces of paper, piling it into the middle of each. Scrunch the edges of each parcel  to seal tightly. Put the parcels in a roasting tin and bake for 7 minutes after which time the spaghetti should be al dente.

Remove the tin from the oven and transfer each parcel to a warm plate. Let everyone open their own parcels and sprinkle the spaghetti with the remaining parsley and some parmesan.

(Original recipe by Ursula Ferrigno in BBC Good Food, August 2001.)

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Fennel & Roasted Tomato Lasagne 1

This is a great veggie dish that has had two outings in our house within a short space of time. It’s also one of the best recipes we’ve found for fennel which we sometimes find a bit uninspiring. We’ve made this in a larger tin, and thus thinner, and also in a deeper one. Both tasted great but we think the smaller diameter deeper dish works better.

Wine Suggestion: a classic match with Sangiovese especially from Chianti in Tuscany. Look out for wines with 100% Sangiovese in this case, even though there are some superb blends out there, as the nature of these wines complements the Fennel and Tomato more. We’ve tried both the Rocca delle Macie Sant’Alfonso Chianti Classico, which is unusally grown on thick clay, and the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina and both complemented the Lasagne excellently.

Fennel & Roast Tomato Lasagne – serves 4

  • 3 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 800g tomatoes on the vine
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml double cream, plus a bit extra if needed
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 250g dried lasagne sheets

Heat the oven to 160C Fan. Place the fennel in a large roasting tray, season well and drizzle with 2tbsp of the oil. Place the tomatoes in a separate roasting tray. Season and drizzle with the remaining oil and balsamic. Roast both trays for 30mins

Stir the cream into the fennel and return to the oven for a further 10mins. Meanwhile lightly mash the tomatoes with a fork. Remove the fennel from the oven, grate over most of the cheese and stir to melt – it should make a little sauce that clings to the fennel – add a bit more cream if you need to. Reduce oven temp to 140c fan.

Spoon a thin layer of tomatoes into an ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of pasta, followed by a layer of fennel, then another layer of pasta. Repeat, finishing with a layer of fennel. Scatter over remaining cheese and bake for 45mins until golden and the pasta is cooked. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe by Matt Follas in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2010.)

Fennel & Roasted Tomato Lasagne 2

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Cherry tomato & chipolata bake

Despite the simplicity of this dish it really showcases perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes; excellent when the garden is overflowing and you’re trying to think of recipes to use them all! One of our butchers does great, meaty and coarsely filled chipolata sausages which we used here, but Cumberland or coarse Italian ones work just as well. Leftovers make a great pasta sauce (see below).

It’s might be a bit early yet for Irish garden tomatoes but our friend Patty, who has just left Ireland to become the Garden Program Director at the University of the Pacific in Stockton California, has a huge tomato glut. So we promised a tomato recipe to help Patty, Michael, and the rest of the staff use up all the tomatoes.

Wine suggestion: Great with a robust and juicy red, don’t over complicate it and pick a moderately priced one. We’ve tried Southern Italian Primitivo’s, Barbera from the north, Cotes du Rhone, Spanish Tempranillo’s and Garnacha and a couple of juicy Aussie Shiraz’s. All work a treat. Californians won’t go wrong with a good Lodi Zin!

Sweet cherry tomato and sausage bake – serves 6

  • 2kg ripe cherry tomatoes, mixed colours if you have them
  • 2 sprigs each of thyme, rosemary & bay
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 12 good-quality sausages (see above)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.

Put the tomatoes, herbs, oregano, garlic and sausages in a large roasting tray – big enough to take the tomatoes in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and make sure the sausages end up on the top, then bake for 30 minutes in the hot oven. Give the tin a good shake and turn the sausages over, then return to the oven for 15-30 minutes or until the sausages are at your desired level of stickiness (we like them pretty sticky!).

Lift the sausages out of the sauce, then put the tray on the hob and reduce the sauce to a nice thick consistency, before putting the sausages back in. Check the seasoning and serve with some warm bread and a green salad.

(Original recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home, Michael Joseph, 2007.)

Cherry tomato & sausage penne

As the bake makes loads just chop up the leftovers the next day and reheat to serve with penne or another chunky pasta like rigatoni or macaroni. Delicious altogether!

Cherry tomato & suasage penne

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Tomato party

This dish celebrates all the juicy tomatoes we’re picking in our garden at the moment. We only had red ones when we made this but a week before we had a glut of yellow toms too. It doesn’t matter which you use, they’ll all taste great.

Wine suggestions: We have tried a couple of very successful wines with this dish, but the trick is to make sure the wine has a slightly higher acidity and good minerality; try smaller, quality winemakers and this will be a good guide. Successful wine matches have been Umani Ronchi’s Vellodoro Pecorino and Casal di Sera Verdicchio – both great matches, Joguet’s Chinon Cuvée Terroir (delicious Cabernet Franc), and the Gulfi Cerasuolo from Sicily.

Tomato Couscous – serves 4

  • 125g couscous
  • olive oil
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 150g fregola (giant couscous)
  • 300g medium vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped oregano
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small green tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • 100g tomberries or halved cherry tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3.

Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and drizzle of oil. Pour over the boiling water, stir and cover the bowl with cling film. Set aside for 12 minutes, then remove the cling film, separate with a fork and leave to cool.

Put the fregola in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 18 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Leave to dry completely.

Meanwhile, spread the quartered vine tomatoes over half of a large baking tin and sprinkle with the sugar and some salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and some oil over the top. Place in the oven. After about 20 minutes take the tomatoes out of the oven and increase the temperature to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Spread the yellow tomatoes over the empty side of the baking tin. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Return the tin to the oven and roast for 12 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Mix the couscous and fregola in a large bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, cooked tomatoes with all their juices, the green tomato and tomberries. Very gently mix everything with your hands. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed.

(Original recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2010.)

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This salad is a twist on the classic  tomatoes with basil. The creamy dressing works surprisingly well and gives the salad a cool and luxurious feel.

Tomato Salad with a Basil Cream Dressing – serves 2

  • 1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 75ml whipping cream
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra
  • pinch of sugar
  • 7-8 basil leaves, torn or chopped
  • 4 ripe, medium tomatoes, cored and sliced

In a mixing bowl, whisk the wine vinegar, water and some salt and pepper.

Whisk in the cream, olive oil and sugar ,then stir in the basil.

Arrange the tomatoes on a large plate, very lightly season and spoon over the dressing. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from Simon Hopkinson’s The Vegetarian Option, Quadrille 2009.)

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This is our classic party dish – so popular that we have to fight to get a taste when we serve it in a buffet! We’ve just made it this weekend for our friends Nicola and Dave’s housewarming. Just to make sure we got some ourselves we made a little extra for the next day. So for all our friends that have asked … here’s the recipe 🙂

Simple Baked Lasagne – serves 6 but easily doubled (which can easily serve 20 or more strangely enough …)

  • 4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of whole, fresh herbs (use your own mix of sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 400g shin of beef, or skirt, coarsely minced
  • 200g pork belly, skin removed & coarsely minced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, bashed in a mortar & pestle
  • 1 dried red chilli, also bashed
  • 400g dried, ready to cook lasagne sheets
  • 400g mozzarella

For the white sauce:

  • 1 x 250ml tubs of crème fraîche
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls freshly grated parmesan
  • a little milk

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

If you are making a double quantity you may want to cook the meat sauce in two quantities as it will be easier to manage unless you have a very large casserole pot. You can also make the meat sauce in advance which makes entertaining easy –  a simple assembly and cook on the night!

In a large casserole pan slowly fry the pancetta or bacon and the cinnamon until golden, add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once mixed together add the beef and pork and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, wine and bay leaves and then bring to the boil. Wet some grease-proof paper and place it on top of the pan and then place a lid on top of this as well to complete the seal. Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

While this is cooking rub the butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the bashed coriander seeds and chilli. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking the sauce. When you remove the sauce check that the squash is cooked and slightly caramelising; if not leave in oven until done.

When sauce is done season and put to one side. Mix together crème fraîche, anchovies, a handful of parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add enough milk while mixing until the sauce becomes loose and smooth. Don’t make it too runny!

Turn oven up to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. To assemble lasagne rub a large dish, or deep tray with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom (and drape over the sides too if you are using fresh lasagne). Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan and then top with another layer of lasagne sheets. Make a complete layer with the butternut, topping it again with lasagne sheets. Repeat the meat, white sauce and parmesan layers. Finish with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook for 30-35 minutes and until golden. Watch the hordes descend.

[Inspired by Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s dinners, Penguin 2006]

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