Monday, 18 May 2015

You say Tomatoes, I say Versitile, Nutritious & Yummy Fruits!

Happy British Tomato Week to you all! 

British Tomato Week this year runs from 18th to 25th May.  It celebrates the magnificence of the humble British tomato.  As we all know, the tomato is jam packed with good stuff, such as Lycopene, Vitamin A & Carotenes, have a read of my all things tomato if you'd like to learn a little more.  I've even read somewhere (don't think I dreamt it, although anything's possible!) that they're even great smothered on sunburnt skin!  (Though it's no doubt better to slather on the sun cream first preventing any burning so we can eat these gorgeous little fruits.)  

Yes, British Tomato Week is no doubt a marketing gimmick, but I think we'll overlook that because of the wondrousness of the lovely tomato in all of it's colours, shapes & sizes.

So in honour of the gorgeous tomato, and British Tomato Week, it's only fitting to share a few tomato recipes, including a handful of recipes from other food bloggers!  

Tomato and Pesto Tart

Tomato and pesto tart

This is a really easy tart.  I used 'light' ready made puff pastry here, which is great and saves so much time. I've made the tarts circular as it's more pleasing to the eye, but feel free to make square tarts which results in far less pastry wastage.

These tarts are great warm or cold.  We usually serve this with salad and new potatoes.

Yield: 2
Serves: 2 adults
Cost: approx. £2.40.  That's £1.20 per serving.
Difficulty: Easy
Freezable: N/A
Time: about 5 minutes, plus 20-25 minutes baking time

You will need
Ready made & rolled puff pastry (we used the 'light' version)
4 tsp Vegetarian basil pesto
Cherry or Piccolo tomatoes, halved
handful of feta, crumbled (optional)
little milk
How to make it
1. Remove your pastry from the fridge about 10 minutes before you're ready to use it.  This brings it up to room temperature and prevents the pastry from cracking.

2. Pre heat the oven to 210c / 200 Fan / Gas 6, or as your pack of pastry recommends.

3. Unroll your pasty. Using a sharp knife, cut around an upturned desert bowl (or cup if you wish to make smaller tartlets) to create a circle of pastry.  Repeat for the number of tarts you wish to make. Place the greaseproof paper (which usually accompanies shop bought rolled pastry) onto a baking tray & place the pastry circles on top.

4. Using a sharp knife, score a line 1cm around the inside of the pastry edge.  Avoid cutting fully through the pastry. 

5. With a sharp knife, flute the cut edge of the pastry.  This will help the pastry to lift and show its layers once cooked.  Brush the 1cm margin of your pastry with a little milk.

6. Place 2 teaspoons of pesto on each of the  pastry circles.  Spread out the pesto, aiming to keep it within the pastry margin which you have scored.

7.  Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the pastry, pack them in!

8.  Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  After 15 minutes scatter with feta cheese, if using this ingredient.  At this point you may also need to rotate your tarts. Ensure the pastry bases are cooked through before serving.

Pesto and Parmesan Bread Sticks

Pesto and Parmasan Bread Sticks

OK, I've not lost the plot (well not just yet)!  I thought I'd pop this little recipe in to provide options should you have any puff pastry remaining.
Simply lay the remaining pastry out (discarding any small pieces), and trim any edges to make a neat oblong.  Spread with the vegetarian pesto and generously scatter with vegetarian parmesan cheese.  Slice the pastry into strips 1.5 - 2cm wide.  Holding the edge of each strip, twist them a couple of times and place on a lined baking tray.  You may find it helpful to tack the ends of each bread stick down onto the greaseproof paper with your thumb to prevent it from unrolling whilst baking.  Bake for about 15-18 minutes at 210c / Fan 200c / Gas 6, or at the temperature recommended by your pastry manufacturer.

Tomato and Radicchio Frittata

Tomato and Radicchio Frittata

This is another really easy dish to make, great when you're short of time and wanting something filling and nutritious to eat. It would also be great chilled and sliced to take on a summer picnic.  This recipe was adapted from the Good Housekeeping Vegetarian Cookbook.  The original recipe listed rocket leaves, but not having any we decided to try the radicchio found in our bag of mixed salad leaves.  Usually I'm not terribly fond of this leaf, but once cooked the bitterness disappears.  Do try it for yourself!

Yield: 1
Serves: 2 adults generously
Cost: approx. £1.90.  That's 95p per adult.
Difficulty: Easy
Freezable: N/A
Time: about 10 minutes.
Adapted from: Good Housekeeping Vegetarian cookbook.

You will need
approx. 160g cherry or piccolo tomatoes, halved
little vegetable oil / sunflower oil
knob of butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon basil (we used dry, fresh would be great)
2 handfuls of grated mozzarella
generous handful of radicchio leaves, roughly torn
grated vegetarian Parmesan

How to make it.
1. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat.  Add the seasoning and basil.

2.  In a medium size frying pan, over a medium heat warm a little vegetable / sunflower oil.  Place the tomatoes in and cook for about 1-2 minute(s) to soften.

3.  Place the tomatoes in the egg mixture along with the mozzarella and radicchio leaves.  Mix gently.

4.  Wipe clean the frying pan.

5.  Add a little oil to the frying pan and knob of butter.  Place over a medium heat and once warmed and the butter melted tip the egg mixture into the pan.  Swirl.  Cook on a low to medium heat for 5-7 minutes until almost cooked through.  Don't rush this, else you may burn the base before the egg is almost cooked.

6. Place under a preheated grill for a further minute or two to set fully.

7.  Serve topped with grated vegetarian parmesan (if desired).

Some more tomato based recipes from other food bloggers:
There are a whole plethora of great tomato recipes out there, here is a handful them from other food bloggers.  I'm sure you'll love them as much as I do.

Image used with permission from Corina at Searching for Spice.
Corina from Searching for Spice wrote a lovely sounding 'Tomato & Coriander Soup' recipe.  Sadly Mr E has an aversion to coriander, so it'll have to be made when he's out & about one day!  Though I'm sure many of you would love to try it.  It would make such a lovely change to the usual tomato & basil combination.  And who says soup is just for winter, we enjoy soup almost every week!

Anita-Clare who writes at A Postcard from France from la Petite Bouchee  has a wonderful range of traditionally French dishes.  This one is 'Piperade a L'Oeuf'.  It just sounds right up our street, we'll certainly be trying this one out.  It's a rustic tomato (obviously!) dish made as a shallow casserole and finished with a baked egg. Lovely! (And just check out the mobile campervan 4 seater bistro, it's so cute!  Certainly somewhere to check out if you're planning to be in that neck of the woods of London).

Or why not have a look at 'White on Rice Couple', Todd & Diane's, recipe of 'Savoury Tomato Crisp'.  A scrummy sounding & looking tomato recipe baked in the oven and topped with a savoury crumble like topping packed with oats.  Very healthy!  It'd make a great side dish.  Another one Mr E & I will definitely be trying.

Anything tickling your taste buds?

Only Crumbs Remain

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