Recipe: Spicy tomato soup

We’re coming to the end of British Tomato Week, so I thought I’d finish off with a classic that I’ve  spiced up – fresh tomato soup with a bit of a bite. I used plum tomatoes on the vine, the aromas while I was preparing them was amazing!

You could add chilli, too, but be careful that it doesn’t overpower the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Plum_tomatoes

Beautiful plum tomatoes

Spicy tomato soup

soup

Comforting, spicy and tomatoey sweet

Serves 4

800g tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp garam masala

200ml water

400g coconut milk

Fry the onions in the vegetable oil until softened.

Add the garam masala and ginger and fry for 10 mins.

Add the tomatoes, reserving two to add later, and stir through.

Add the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 mins.

Add the coconut milk and stir through. Simmer for another 10 mins on low for flavours to mix.

Blend until the soup is smooth.

Add the remaining tomatoes and and simmer on low for another five so they heat through.

Serve with crusty bread.

Top tip: To peel tomatoes easily, place in a large bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for a minute or two. Take a knife and insert into the skin, it should come away at once, making it easy to remove.

logo

Find out more at www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Recipe: Tomato, watermelon and peach salsa

Could summer be here at last? The sun is out and I am happy, gotta love that blue sky. So here’s something light and refreshing to try, a zesty mix of fruit and tomato with a hint of mint.

This sweet and tangy salsa is great served alongside spicy dishes like curries, with grilled pork or chicken or for something different as a vegetarian starter that will get your taste buds tingling.

salsa

A summery dish that looks and tastes beautiful

Makes a decent portion to share between two.

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 peaches, destoned and chopped into bite-size pieces

A large slice of watermelon, enough for about 12 bite-size pieces

A handful of fresh mint

Mix all the ingredients together and allow to stand for at least an hour before eating.

logoFind out more at  www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Recipes: The best roast cherry tomatoes

Roasting sweet cherry tomatoes intensifies their sweetness and flavour and you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week. Spread on sandwiches, toss in salads, add to stews or even snack on straight from the fridge. Yum!

I cook them on a low temperature for about an hour, you can also do it overnight, like my friend Candy does. Here are two roads to fabulous roast cherry tomatoes.

22333_1

Bring on the cherry tomatoes

600g cherry tomatoes, halved

4 whole cloves of garlic, unpeeled

2 tsps dried thyme

1 tsp white sugar

4 tbsps olive oil

Heat the oven to 140C.

Place the tomatoes and garlic in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the sugar and thyme and pour over the olive oil.

Roast for about an hour (keeping an eye on them), until they are shrivelled but not dried out.

Eat immediately or allow to cool and store in the fridge for later.

cherrytoms

Chopped and sprinkled with olive oil and thyme

The overnight method

This way you can wake up to beautiful roast tomatoes!

Preheat the oven to 240C.

Place all the ingredients on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.

Turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes in overnight (approximately 8 hours).

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

roasted-cherry-tom-1

Sweet and juicy and ready to eat

logo

Find out more at www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Recipe: Tomato, pea and ham tortilla

Here’s my recipe for day three of British Tomato Week. Enjoy.

I love a Spanish omelette (tortilla). The fabulous potato, egg and onion base lends itself to endless additions, it’s the perfect dish to get creative with.

This one has plenty of stuff in it, so will make a substantial meal and it’s topped with halved cherry tomatoes, making it look bright and beautiful.

Tortilla is a wonderfully portable snack and tastes great cold and hot, so make a big one and you’ll have plenty of delicious leftovers to savour.

Tomato, pea and ham tortilla

Serves 4 as a meal

tortilla3

The beautiful tortilla ready to serve

400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 5cm slices

150g fresh peas

4 tbsps vegetable oil

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

6 large eggs

4 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped

200g cooked hock of ham, shredded

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and return to the boil. Simmer for about 5 mins until the potatoes are starting to soften. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsps of the oil in a 25cm non-stick frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 mins until the onion is soft.

Add the potatoes and peas and fry, stirring gently for about another 10 mins.

Meantime beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the parsley and ham and mix through.

Pour the egg mixture into the other ingredients in the frying pan. Make sure it is spread out evenly.

Dot the halved tomatoes evenly on top.

Cook on the hob on a low heat for 10-15 mins until the base is set.

Meantime preheat the grill and place the pan under it. Continue cooking until the top is set and golden brown.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently tip the tortilla onto a plate.

Serve with a salad.

tortilla1

The tortilla cooks on the stove top while the bottom sets

tortilla2

Finished off under the grill it comes out golden brown

logo

 

To find out more about tomatoes, visit www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Celebrating beautiful British tomatoes

Welcome to British Tomato Week. I love tomatoes so it’s great to have an excuse to celebrate them! This week I’m going to share a range of recipes I’ve come up with using this delicious ingredient. I’d love to hear about your favourite tomato recipes, too, so please do get in touch.

tomato-India

Did you know?

Tomatoes originate from the Andes in South America where they grow wild in what is now Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. They were first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas in around 700AD.

Tomatoes are full of vitamins (A, C and E), potassium, carotenoids and flavonoids. These vitamins and antioxidants are thought to combat the harmful effects of the free radicals that cause cell damage and help protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Red, white and blue cheese salad

This beautifully patriotic-looking salad seems like the perfect way to kick off British Tomato Week.

 

salad

Serves 4

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, eg Blue Vinney, Oxford Blue or Stilton

2 tbsps red wine vinegar

2 tsps runny honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

4 tbsp olive oil

Grill the bacon until crisp, 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 four plates or bowls and drizzle with the dressing. Scatter the crispy bacon over the top.

Top tip: If you don’t want your avocados to go brown, simply leave its pip in the salad until serving (don’t forget to remove it then!).

Aromatic baked tomatoes

Beef tomatoes are perfect for stuffing, experiment with different combos to find your favourite.

peppers

Serves 4

4 British beef tomatoes

25g butter

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 small clove garlic, peeled and crushed

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

40g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs

1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs like basil, oregano or marjoram

Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4.

Stand the tomatoes on their stem ends and slice off the top quarter. Remove and reserve the tomato pulp. Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain.

Melt the butter in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and celery until soft but not browned. Stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs and tomato pulp. Season well.

Fill the tomato cases with the mixture and replace the tops. Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for about 20 mins. Serve hot.

Top tip: To give the filling a crisp and golden top, remove the tomato lids and place them in the base of the dish halfway through the cooking time.

logo

To find out  more about British tomatoes, visit www.britishtomatoes.co.uk. And watch this space for more tasty recipes all week.

British Tomato Week: Tomato, pesto and goats cheese tarts

Gotta love a tomato tart! These little ones are great for a light lunch served with a salad or served with early evening drinks with friends. The tomato, goats cheese, puff pastry combo is fantastic. I spread pesto on first which adds a nice herby flavour. When my pesto ran out I sprinkled a generous amount of dried Herbes de Provence on the pastry before adding the tomatoes and cheese. Another delicious combo.

Simply the best ingredients

Simply the best ingredients

Makes 6

1 sheet of Jus Rol puff pastry, defrosted

4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

6 tbsp pesto

150g mild, soft goats cheese

1 egg, beaten

Lay the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured board. Divide it into six squares.

Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Spread the pesto in the centre of pastry. Layer the tomatoes over it and top with pieces of goats cheese.

Place on a roasting tray in the oven and cook at 180C for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove and leave to cool a little before eating.

pastry

Building the tarts

tarts

The tasty finished product

Tomato fact of the day

Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A, C and E, the natural plant pigments known as carotenoids (both beta-carotene and lycopene) and flavonoids. They contain minerals such as potassium, which has been linked to lowering blood pressure and calcium, which is vital for healthy bones and teeth. And tomatoes are low in calories, have virtually no fat and no cholesterol. The more you eat the better you feel!

For more  tomato recipes and info visit www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

tomatoweek2013