Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Breakfast Tomatoes

There’s word of this fifth basic taste going round, a taste alongside salty, sweet, sour or bitter; it’s called umami. According to Wikipedia, it means ‘pleasant savoury taste’ in Japanese. It’s the taste most common in Japanese food, which makes it so well-loved. ‘The human tongue has receptors for L-glutamate, which is the source of umami flavour. As such, scientists consider umami to be distinct from saltiness.’ So you ask? How and where do you get umami from? Tomatoes.

I believe having tomatoes at breakfast is a great way to start your day, awakening your belly with wholesome savoury goodness, not just salty ham or bacon.

Have them with your sausages today.


Pasta Amatriciana

I was fortunate enough to be in Rome last month on holiday, or rather, on pilgrimage to the Vatican City and to the art of Michelangelo Buonarotti. But of course, in addition to all the sightseeing, I made time to have a taste of whatever dishes that might be unique to the region. Being in the land of pasta, Pasta Amatriciana is one of them. According to Wikipedia, ‘Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale (dried pork cheek), pecorino cheese and tomato, well-known in Roman and Italian cuisine.’

So very basically, I gave it a go with bacon, red onions, tomatoes and Parmesan. Also, I had it with mushroom tortellini as opposed to the usual bucatini.

 •

  1. Set your pasta boiling away in a pot of salty water.
  2. With the help of a teaspoon of oil in a hot skillet, render the fat of the bacon out.
  3. Toss in the minced onions, and sweat it out till almost translucent.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, together with some passata. Or just add in some chopped tomatoes from a store-bought carton. Add volume to the sauce with pasta-cooking water, if necessary.
  5. Stir in a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan.
  6. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sauce.
  7. Mix and serve with a grating of more Parmesan.

Pizza: Olives, Capers, Tomatoes & Feta

I’ve stopped using recipes for pizza doughs because I enjoy the thrill of having a different bread dough each time round. But of course, if you’re looking for a splendid thin crust pizza dough, use this recipe.

So after tossing flour, yeast, salt, oil and water into a bowl, and kneading away for at least 5 minutes, I had a dough ready for pizza. The routine here is to let the dough sit and rise in a bowl under a damp towel or cling film for at least 40 minutes, before rolling it out and laying your toppings on.

In this case, I made a quick tomatoey sauce base, and put on green olives, capers, and chopped cherry tomatoes, sent it into the oven till it was done and crumbled chunks of Greek Feta on. Then, serve with a variety of fresh salad leaves e.g. arugula, spinach, mixed lettuce and frills, etc.

Go crazy with the greens, if you wish.


Chicken, Tomato, Olives, Capers

This is a brilliant combination if you’re craving that tomatoey flavour of bolognese but don’t want it too rich and beefy.

Chicken linguine in tomato sauce, with carrots, olives and capers.

  1. Set your pasta to boil.
  2. With some oil in a hot skillet, toss in minced shallots, carrot brunoise, chopped tomatoes, and maybe a bit of minced chilli if you want the spicy kick.
  3. Add in the chicken cubes, olives (best if pitted and sliced), and capers.
  4. Use a small blob of tomato puree and water to make a sauce, so everything holds together.
  5. Season well with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
  6. Garnish generously with carrot top leaves.

Vinegar Braised Haddock

I got tired of having fish and potatoes every Friday, so I made a little asian fish stew last night. Mummy used to make it for dinner some Fridays, before we succumbed to the convenience of dining out on the night before the weekend. It’s pleasantly bold, yet ever-so-slightly sour. Braised slowly but surely, in a mildly sweet garlicky dark sauce, the fish sings beautifully with the shrimps. The tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach leaves tosses up a party of textures. Chowed down with extra hot finger chilli and freshly steamed basmati.

  • 1 fillet haddock, defrosted completely, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 brown mushroom, sliced
  • 1 white mushroom, sliced
  • 1 handful shrimps
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2  mug water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves

 •••

  1. Get the sauce done first. With a little oil in the pan, in goes the garlic and ginger.
  2. When fragrant, get the shrimps, tomatoes and mushrooms in.
  3. Then, the vinegar, soy sauces, sugar and sesame oil.
  4. Add water to add more volume to sauce. Adjust with sea salt accordingly.
  5. Finally, when the sauce has reduced slightly, turn the heat down to s simmer and sit the fish pieces gently inside. Baste it well, and flip carefully when it’s half cooked.
  6. Once the fish is done, turn off the heat.
  7. Serve atop the baby spinach leaves.

No points for presentation there, but all smiles for the flavour.


Poached Egg Breakfast

Two mornings ago, I woke up from a dream; one about breakfast.

This is what I dreamt about:

 

Poached egg on pan-seared honey baked ham and toast, sitting on a mash of garden peas. With butter glazed mushrooms and basil tomatoes.

Perfect way to start the day.

Photography: Sarah Lee


Pizza Saucery

 

Tried out making your own pizza dough yet? Here’s how you can make your own Pizza Sauce now. Yes, that tomatoey first layer that goes onto your perfectly round and flat pizza dough. Instead of buying a jar off the shelf at the store, here’s a really good cheat. It’s actually Spaghetti Bolognese without the spaghetti and chopped up ingredients. Just the sauce alone. Combine a lug of olive oil, tomato puree, basil, pepper and water into a bowl and mix. Add water bit by bit till you get the consistency of a spread. You don’t want it too paste-like nor too runny.

So simple to do, it doesn’t even take a minute.


Rosemary’s Chicken

I was at the market a couple of days back and came home with a pot of my favourite herb – rosemary.

Isn’t she lovely? (:

I had to test her powers quick. So, wielding a tiny pair of scissors, I snipped off two sprigs. Immediately, there was a whiff of a beautiful virgin blue fragrance. I smiled, before hurrying to the kitchen to whip up some good old roast.

Tray-Roasted Chicken

Chop up some potatoes, and boil them for a while, with a slice of lemon.

Stick a tray into the oven and preheat it to 180°C. While that’s in there, slice a tomato (or use a stalk of cherry tomatoes), and smash a couple of cloves of garlic, leaving the skin on. Then, run the sprigs of rosemary under hot water for a few seconds. Apparently, doing this helps herbs work their magic better.

Prepare your chicken portions and take a deep breath. By now, the aroma of sweet citric goodness should have filled your kitchen.

Smile.

Once the oven’s almost ready, drain your potatoes and let them steam dry. This way, you’ll have crispier roasted potatoes.

Get the tray out of the oven. Stick the chicken parts in, together with the garlic, tomatoes and rosemary. Toss the potatoes in, and squeeze whatever juice is left of that lemon into the tray as well. Then, the lemon goes into the tray too, not the bin.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil and give it all a splash of white wine. Chuck it back in to the oven; the middle tray for about an hour or so. At the halfway mark, take the dish out and splash in a little more wine. Then, using a spoon or ladle, douse everything in the tray with its own juices, before sending it back into the heat.

When the timer goes off, your dish should look something like this.

It was so good, I wound up finishing everything myself. :D


Easter Bruschetta

It was Easter Sunday two days ago and back home, the family always gathers for a meal. It may not be a feast of food but the cheerful banter and warm company is enjoyed by all.

This year, unfortunately, I’m away from home. However, that didn’t stop me from having a small dinner affair with a bunch of friends. While they were knocking hard at their books, churning out essays, I took to their kitchen and prepared a little somethings.

Easter Dinner Prix Fixe

Starter

Tomato Bruschetta

*

Main

Roasted Chicken Thighs

Shepherd’s Pie

Veggie Pie

Green Salad

*

Dessert

Caramel Ice Cream on Warm Brownies

*

I won’t feature all the items here, but what I’d like to share is how to go about making the starter – Tomato Bruschetta (pronounced as [brusˈketːa]). There are a few ways of doing it and here’s mine:

Place tomatoes into a deep bowl or pot and douse with boiling hot water. Ensure they are completely submerged for a couple of minutes.

Drain and remove the skin of the tomatoes. This should be pretty easy to do since they’ve been boiled through. Begin by using a knife to make a slit on the skin of the tomato.

Once that’s done, chop them all up and toss into a bowl, with a splash of olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper. Stick them into the fridge for a bit.

Toast slices of baguette in the oven or on a hot griddle pan, to your liking and sprinkle bits of chopped garlic on top. (I do this instead of adding the garlic to the tomato mixture so that the flavour of the garlic comes out stronger.)

Lay a spoonful of tomatoes on each of the baguette slices now. Top off finally with chopped arugula, for that nutty aftertaste. Done!

“Slimy, yet satisfying.”