Tomatoes top the tables

Barbara Wilson

Although we use tomatoes like a vegetable, the tomato is actually the fruit of (surprise!) the tomato plant, a vine-like plant that is grown in nearly every gardener’s greenhouse. In fact, so well loved is the tomato, that during the nineteenth century, the tomato was affectionately called the love apple or le pomme d'amour.

If you stop and think you will be surprised how many tomatoes you actually eat. Think of sauces, salads, sandwiches, soups, tomato ketchup and lots more.

And this is a great time to take advantage of the tasty tomatoes in the shops right now. Make this pasta sauce and freeze in single serving portions or have this delicious and simple tomato salad with French bread and a glass of wine!

Tomato sauce

Heat a tsp olive oil in a heavy-based pan and gently cook a finely chopped onion, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and a finely chopped chilli. When softened, add 450 grams (1lb) of peeled and chopped tomatoes, 1 tbs chopped fresh basil, a pinch of sugar and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer gently for around an hour and then add another tbs fresh basil.

This can be used as a pasta sauce, a topping sauce for pizza, with meatballs or fish or as a base for a Bolognese sauce or chilli. Use tinned tomatoes with 1 tbs tomato puree and dried herbs if fresh ingredients aren’t available.

Makes 4 servings of pasta sauce.
Nutrition Information: 60 calories, 2g fat and 8g carbs (1 Unit)

Tomato and mozzarella salad

Thickly slice 6 large plum or vine-ripened tomatoes and 2 balls of mozzarella cheese. Toss these into a large bowl of mixed salad leaves and sprinkle with torn basil and freshly ground black pepper and pour over Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Serve with bread for a light lunch.

Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition Information: 175 calories, 11g fat and 6g carbs (3 Units)

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