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Tag: cherry tomatoes

Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

Remember bruschetta? The summery entrée that nobody seems to be doing anymore because most of us can’t be fucked dicing that many – mostly very mediocre – tomatoes. And then when you do make it, and you’re actually kind of proud of yourself, because it is delicious, half of the tomato falls off as you try to take a bite. Also, unless you’re one of those ridiculous people who spends their summers swamped in sweet and fragrant tomatoes (please be my friend), you know good tomatoes are a rare commodity to come by. Well, I’ve put an end to this nonsense. While I’m not here to tell you how to put tomato on toasted bread, I’d like to give you a few pointers in how to get a perfectly crunchy-yet-juicy, non-fall-apart-y bites of bruschetta. All you need is a food processor and a bunch of cherry tomatoes (and garlic and olive oil and a baguette of course). Cherry tomatoes are an obvious (and tasty) all-year-round available alternative to the Mediterranean tomato dream most of us can only fantasise about. The processor takes out the chopping, but also increases the likelihood of tomato on bread permanence. Basically you’re making a chunky-ish tomato soup, then scooping that onto toasty, garlicky olive oily bread. 

A word on the blending situation – if you have a food processor, that’s ideal. Somehow the slightly longer blade chops the tomatoes more evenly without immediately turning them into juice, which you often can’t avoid with the shorter blade of the handheld blender. If a hand held blender is all you have though, you can still use that. But just make sure you keep the tomato blitzing to a minimum.

Cherry tomato bruschetta

makes one baguette’s worth of bruschetta

 60-70ml extra virgin olive oil

1 fat garlic clove, roughly chopped

pinch of salt

500g cherry tomatoes, washed and halved

½ tsp salt

1 baguette, either sliced into rounds or halved lengthways and cut into 5-8cm squares (especially handy if they mightn’t be eaten immediately)

Combine the olive oil and the garlic clove in your food processor. Pulse a few times until the garlic has dissolved. Transfer to a jar – this can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days, just be aware of its potency! Alternatively, if you can’t stand the flavour of raw garlic, warm the blended garlic oil in a pan until it begins to sizzle. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

Don’t worry about rinsing the blender – add the cherry tomatoes and salt right in and pulse a few times until they’re chopped into an even salsa (but not fully pureed).

Assembly time!

Drizzle the baguette with the oil an toast in the oven at 200°C for a few minutes or until golden at the edges. Alternatively, if you’re like me and can’t be bothered turning on your oven, toast your baguette slices in the toaster, two to four at a time, then schmear with the garlic oil using a brush or a teaspoon. Get a spoon and scoop some of the cherry tomato mixture out of the blender and right onto the bread. You might want to drain some of the juices on the side of the bowl as you scoop, but also bear in mind that the juices are really tasty – you might want to keep it on hand and drizzle a little extra over your bread as you go.

Quinoa Tabbouli with Feta, Almonds and Dates

tabbouli

“Another salad with feta eh? That’s so imaginative of you”. Ja, that’s me! If you knew how rarely I actually sat down and ate a proper salad, you’d be throwing feta at me by the bucketful ok? If I’m going to have a salad that’s worth my while, it’s got to be substantial, and if it’s that, it’ll probably need a few yum-factors in there to make me actually want to finish it. Who eats a whole bowl of quinoa on its own anyway. Nobody that calls themselves my friend, that’s for sure.

All that aside, this salad is well and truly a pretty damn tasty one, even if you omit the feta (don’t). Tabbouli has always been in my life in some way or another, in the form of a packet mix, as a component of my salad bar lunch, or that one time we had an unforgettable meal at this incredibly authentic and charming restaurant in the heart of a million little windy streets in Cairo.

In my hope to make it  more of a main meal type thing, sturdy enough to be packed away as a work lunch, and happy enough to sit in the fridge for a few days without getting grumpy at me or losing its flavour, I created this little thing. I’ve gone out and jazzed up the grain component with our trusty quinoa, added some cinnamon to the mix and roasted the cherry tomatoes to increase its fridge life. Throw in some almonds for crunch, some dates for added sweetness, and some feta for that hit of salty tang, and you are in for one sexy date with your lunchbox.

Tabbouli with Feta, Almonds and Dates

Serves 4

 

1 cup / 170g quinoa

2 cups / 500ml vegetable stock

1 tsp cinnamon

400g cherry tomatoes, halved

2 big bunches parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch mint, finely chopped

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 lemons, juice

1/4 cup / 60ml olive oil

salt

100g Danish feta, crumbled

8 dates, finely chopped

1/2 cup / 60g slivered almonds, toasted

 

First, combine the quinoa, stock and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Cook it on a small flame, covered, until it’s done. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lay out the halved cherry tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let them relax in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they start going wrinkly and have reduced in size. Remove and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the chopped parsley, mint, spring onion and quinoa. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and as much salt as you think is necessary.

When you’re ready to serve, scoop out a nice amount onto a plate and top with some of the cherry tomatoes, some crumbled feta, the chopped dates, and a sprinkling of the toasted almonds.

 

The salad will keep well in the fridge for at least 3 days. To ensure complete satisfaction every time you eat it, keep all the components separate in the fridge.

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