Tag Archives: tomato

A good excuse and pasta sauce

7 Apr

Okay, I know that I said that I wouldn’t further neglect the much neglected TTK, particularly for the (very poor) excuse of not liking my kitchen.  Well, I have a good excuse for having done so lately and it involves spending an entire week being able to stomach nothing but cereal.  Yep – I’m up the duff.

Thankfully, I seem to have passed into the second trimester mostly unscathed and am starting to feel significantly more like eating food that is, well… not either cereal or tomato sandwiches.  So, I’m going to try and begin again in earnest.  Particularly now that I can start thinking about what kinds of wonderful wholesome foods I need to put into my body now that I’m growing a tiny human.

Add to this the fact that we are moving (hooray!) and our new place will have a kitchen.  I don’t just mean some stock bench-space, a hob, an oven, a sink.  I mean an entire room devoted to cooking.  A whole room – with some wonderful bench space – that I can lock myself into and devote to food creation.

And to celebrate, here is something which is specifically for my friend B.  While she was still living in London we talked about how to create something like this and I said that I would organise some kind of recipe for her.  Of course, I never did – but here it is.

A stock standard home-made tomato pasta sauce

What you need:

– slightly overripe tomatoes.  I used cherry tomatoes for this, but you can use any kind.

-good quality olive oil

-herbs of your choice (I use basil)

What you need to do:

Skin your tomatoes.  The easiest way to do this is to cut a little cross into the bottom side of each tomato and submerge it in boiling water.  Once you pull it out you should be able to just peel the skin away – if not, just dunk it back into the water.

Put all your tomatoes, along with a little drizzle of olive oil, into an oven proof dish.  If you’re using big tomatoes then cut them up into quarters or eighths, cherry and baby tomatoes you can just put in as is.  Put them into a moderately hot oven, something around 200 should be fine.  Leave them for about half an hour.

Pull the dish out and smush them up with a fork.  Be careful!  You might get squirted with some very hot tomato seeds and other assorted innards.  Smush as much as you can.  Pop them back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

At this stage, I like to transfer the tomatoes into a pot and put them on the stove – covered – to simmer down a bit more.  This is also a good time to add in some chopped up fresh (or dried, if you like/that’s all you have) herbs.  This stage is a bit more up to you.  If you don’t mind a chunky sauce, you won’t want to leave them simmering for too long.  If you want something a bit smoother you will want to cook them down a little bit more.  If you are so inclined you can wizz your sauce up for something a little bit smoother.

Now – you can either use this sauce as is.  Or, you can add things – soy milk, cream, cheese is fine, if you are so inclined you can add some cooked brown lentils or TVP to make something closer to a bolognese.  At the ‘transfer to the pot’ stage you can start by adding some finely chopped onions or leeks, carrots or celery also go really well.  Before you finish, throw in a dash of red wine for something a bit richer.   You can really do anything you like with it.  It’s also freezable, so you can make a huge batch and freeze it off.

And then, obviously, you eat it.  (Although the days of final-dish photos with a huge glass of red wine are over for me for a while, please feel free to have one if you are devouring this sauce!)

The Vegan and The Wedding

23 Jun

There comes a time in every person’s life in which they must attend a formal occasion during which food of some kind will be provided.  Many people experience anxiety over these events, mainly based around the common question of ‘what if I get something I don’t like?’  For the vegan, this anxiety revolves mainly around the question ‘am I going to get something that is a) edible, and b) not a stack of roast vegetables with nothing on it and c) am I going to get dessert that isn’t fruit salad?’ (I must say, I think that the whole thing is less anxious for the vegetarian, who is usually assured of receiving something smothered in cheese and, therefore tasting only of cheese).  Well, last Sunday I attended my first ever wedding in which I was not the bride.

At my own wedding, one year ago (in three days!) I did receive a stack of beautifully cooked vegetables in a very lovely roast tomato sauce, but I ate so little of it that it didn’t really bother me too much.  And, I don’t even remember what the entree was, so that shows you how much attention I paid.

Last Sunday, at the wedding of Nat and Darren – two of the most wonderful, kind and caring people around, I ate:

Entree: Pumpkin Soup

The soup was the same as one of the ‘regular’ dishes (the other was Minestrone), but without the cream.  S had the same (but with cream).  It was very nice, but lacked something (personally, I think it lacked coriander).  The thing that really stood out was the depth of pumpkin flavour.  I know that sounds silly, being that it is a pumpkin soup, but it really tasted rich even though it was kind of watery.  Now, I don’t particularly mind watery soup, but I think this would have been too much if it was any thicker.

S did say that he didn’t think he would be able to finish his bowl, and then did.  I didn’t, but not by much.

Main: Warm Eggplant and Avocado Baked ‘Salad’

Okay, I’m not really sure what to call this, apart from extremely good.  When it first came out, I’ll admit that I did think ‘Here is another stack of  vegetables…’ but cutting through the tomato reveled a wonderfully complex warm ‘salad’ type dish.

(I know that this isn’t the most wonderful-looking half-eaten dish you’ve ever seen, but I thought it would give you more of an idea about what the dish actually was!)

The dessert was a buffet, which looked wonderful, but of course the only thing on it I could eat was fruit salad.  S said that the chocolate and orange cake and the chocolate mousse that he had weren’t that good, but I know he was lying for my benefit.

Of course, S had a vegetable lasagna, absolutely swimming in cheese.

The day was wonderful, Nat was beautiful and they looked so happy.  The food was brilliant, but even if it wasn’t, you don’t really attend your friends’ wedding for the food, do you?

I have been inspired by Cutest Food to make watermelon cupcakes, hopefully will have a go tonight.  Plus, I’m almost ready to post the new muesli-bar cookie recipe.

The photo at the top of this post is of S and me, not Nat and Darren.  Though I can assure you she was a stunning bride, I didn’t want to post their photo without permission.

Tomato-Pasta-Cook-In (a.k.a ‘What do do with left over soup?)

28 May

If you’re anything like me, when you make soup you really go all out and make heaps of soup!  Currently I’m enjoying carrot and fennel throw-it-together with some onion and leek and potato, and double-triple-creamy-tomato (based on the double-tomato recipe from the Veganomican.)  But, this isn’t about soup.  It’s about pasta – and, the left-over-one serve of tomato soup when there are two people who need to eat.  So, you turn it into pasta.

Start by thinning out the soup (or, if the soup is frozen, start by defrosting the soup – then thinning it out).  Then, cook your pasta in the thinned out soup.  I like to use spirals, but you could use any kind of short pasta you like.  You’ll probably need to keep adding water to the mix – but that’s okay.  When the pasta is done, throw in two tablespoons of Better-Than-Cream-Cheese, or thickened coconut cream (if you don’t mind the taste), or a splash of rice-milk.  Begin to stir, and start adding small amounts of plain flour – this will thicken the whole mix up.  Stop adding flour when it’s at your required thickness.

That’s pretty much it.  Sorry I don’t have a photo, though – I was going to take a photo of the third serve which I had put aside to take for lunch, but S beat me to it!

For what it’s worth, I made stir-fry last night and at the point of no return realised I hadn’t made a sauce.  Rice Malt Syrup plus Soy Sauce.  Trust me.

One more plus: once my thesis is finally finished, I am going to dedicate a bit (read: a lot!) more time to this.  It’s a resolution, baby.