A week to celebrate (and eat) tomatoes

Today is the start of British Tomato Week. I love British tomatoes. Imagine my delight when the Tomato People (The British Tomato Growers’ Association) sent me two boxes (yes, two large boxes) of amazing tomatoes in different shapes, sizes and colours, all freshly picked from a BTGA member’s tomato nursery. So, inspired and excited, I’ve come up with some lovely, and really easy,  tomato-based recipes for my blog.

I’ll post one a day for the rest of the week for you to try. To get everything off to a good start, here are a couple of tasty dishes from British Tomatoes for you to try. You can find more tomato info and more recipes at www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

tomatoweek2013

SPAGHETTI TOSSED IN MILD CHILLI AND TOMATOES

Pasta and plenty of tomatoes, the perfect Italian combination

Serves 4  

Spaghetti with tomatoes and chilli

Spaghetti with tomatoes and chilli

8 sprays olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 green chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped

1 sprig fresh thyme

450g British Classic tomatoes, skinned & halved

15ml (1 tbsp) capers, drained

250g spaghetti

350g British Cherry tomatoes

Freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven 220º C, Gas no 7

Heat 4 sprays of olive oil in a saucepan and sauté garlic and chilli pepper gently for 3 mins.

Strip the thyme leaves from the stem. Add the skinned tomatoes and thyme leaves to the saucepan.  Bring slowly to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 mins until the tomatoes are reduced to a fairly thick sauce. Stir in the capers.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions.

Put the cherry tomatoes in a roasting tin, spray 4 times with olive oil and roll tomatoes around to coat evenly. Roast tomatoes in the oven for 6 mins.

Strain the spaghetti and stir in the tomato sauce. Divide between four plates then gently fold in the roasted tomatoes. Add a twist of ground black pepper to each plate of spaghetti and serve immediately.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD

This yummy salad is perfect for a summer’s day (if summer ever arrives) and it’s patriotic too!

Serves 4

Red, white and blue cheese salad

Red, white and blue cheese salad

225g rindless, smoked streaky bacon

4 little gem lettuces

450g British cherry tomatoes

1 bunch watercress

2 avocados

Juice of 1 lemon

225g blue cheese, cubed eg Blue Vinney, Oxford Blue, Stilton

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp runny honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

4 tbsp olive oil

Grill the bacon until crisp and then chop into small pieces.

Separate and rinse the lettuce leaves, halve the cherry tomatoes, trim and rinse the watercress. Mix the lettuce leaves, tomato and watercress together.

Peel and slice the avocados and coat with lemon juice to prevent browning. Combine the avocado slices and blue cheese with the salad.

Whisk together the wine vinegar, honey and mustard. Add the olive oil steadily in a fine stream, whisking as you pour. Season the dressing to taste.

Divide the salad between 4 serving plates or bowls and drizzle with the dressing. Scatter the crispy bacon over the top before serving.

Coming on Tuesday…a traditional South African sauce that’s packed with tomatoes.

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