Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cooking up a sunshine feast for winter - Recipe Spicy Tomato Sauce

It has been pouring with rain all day, but you will not hear me complaining as it is badly needed. It has given me the chance to rustle up some recipes for John’s new recipe page (see Brilliant allotment link).

I have been having a bumper crop of tomatoes – my first – so I am making the most of them.
Roasted with Basil
One way of using them is to roast the tomatoes cut in half and placed in rows (cut side up)in a big roasting tin/s season with freshly ground black pepper, add basil (fresh is best but dried is good as well) dribble over olive oil, and cook at 200c, or 180c in a fan oven. Times very, so just check on them after 15 minutes. I like them to have released some of their juices, but to have not gone to mush. I then freeze them in bags, in quantities that I would use – about 8oz, 250grms. They make a perfect base for pasta dishes, and everything that uses tomatoes in cooking – I am sure that you can come up with lots of uses yourself. without me listing them all. If you need some suggestions just email me from the comment box at the bottom of page. usually wait until I have about 10lb so can use all the shelves in the oven.


Another way I have used them is to make lots of variations of Ratatouille. Using the tomatoes as the base ingredient, I vary the rest of the ingredient combinations by using fresh sliced, or sliced roasted red peppers (£1.86 a large jar from Lidls, enough for many batches). I add courgettes, aubergines, cucumbers, squashes, onions, garlic, herbs, olive oil, but don’t measure any of them, I just add them until it looks lovely and colourful. So each batch gets a different flavour. Cooked in roasting tins at 200c or 180c fan oven – you can use tinned tomatoes or a combination of both - just experiment, its fun.

When you eat mainly free range chicken and fish meals, it is nice to liven them up a bit, so today I experimented and conjured up the following recipe. It came about because I had another batch of 5lb of tomatoes, and I wanted to use up the basket of little red and white onions that were too small to tie up in a batch, but I couldn’t bear to throw them away and waste them.

Spicy Tomato Cooking Sauce – Bulk Recipe

1lb of mixed variety onions, sliced.
4 big cloves of garlic chopped and then crushed with a knife
4lb of tomatoes – roughly quartered or chopped depending on size
6 tsp ground cumin
6 tsp ground coriander
6 large pinches of chilli powder
250 grms Pessata or 4 tbsp of tomato puree

In a jam making big pan put the oil, onions, and garlic cooking them until just soft. Add the tomatoes and cook them until they start looking mushy, then add the cumin, coriander and chilli powder, sprinkling it over and stirring well, lastly add the Pessata (I had run out of tomato puree, which I was going to use to thicken it, but it doens't matter which you use.) Cook it so that it is gently simmering for about half an hour in total until it is a lovely thick creamy texture. Some of the onions I left thicker to give it a bit of bite.

I left it to cool and have packed it in labelled containers to freeze.

Note: If you are not sure how spicy you would like it, add 4 teaspoons each of the cumin and coriander and 4 pinches of chilli powder, allow the spices to infuse (5 mins), then taste. My husband reckons my recipe is mild to medium, but to my taste buds it is medium!

Spicy Tomato Cooking Sauce - 2 – 4 portions depending on your appetite.

4oz onion – more doesn’t matter – sliced
1 big clove garlic
1lb tomatoes or 14oz can
1 tbsp tomato puree or 3tbsp of pessata
1 tsp of ground cumin and 1 tsp ground coriander, and large pinch of chilli powder. Adjust to taste.
Cook as previous recipe, but in a large frying pan

This is the meal we had for lunch. It was made with fresh tomatoes and all sorts of onions. I added chunks of boned chicken thigh pieces at the same time that I added the tomatoes, and left it to gently simmer for 25 minutes - the time it took to cook the brown rice that we had with it. It was a substantial, and filling meal - gorgeous my husband said - I think he was talking about the meal!

Seriously though, this spicy tomato sauce will work well with chicken, pork, fish, vegetables, pasta, prawns, jacket potatoes, can be used as a side dish or main ingredient. I am going to cook another batch and add runner beans cut in 1/4" pieces.

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