craft

Scatter

tomato cushion

Whilst others are resting on their laurels, we are resting on our tomatoes right now.

If you cast your mind back to this post you may remember the lovely bowl of tomatoes as the featured image. Not wanting to hide my snaps away in a darkened drawer, but having very little vacant wall space these days, the search was on to unearth a new way to keep this appealing image in my field of view. So how about a scatter cushion?

tomatoes in a bowl cushion cover

If you too have treasured images that you wish to keep in the spotlight, the simplest way to go about this is to have the snap of your choice printed onto fabric. Then it’s just a matter of finding a coordinating remnant to back it with and a cushion insert to give it the final shape.

Due to the nature of this household ie pets and children, it was essential that I added a zipper to mine, as it will be spending a considerable measure of its life rotating in the washing machine. Don’t be discouraged if your sewing confidence is not up to zippers right now, four straight seams is all you need, and maybe choose a low traffic area for your creation to reside.

tomato cushion supplies

Postscript: should you be interested in placing an invisible zipper in the base, here is a brilliant tutorial that will get you exactly the result you are after.

gardening · recipes

Red

Bowl of Tomatoes

When faced with a beautiful fresh ingredient, the first response if often to take a complex approach and involve it in an elaborate recipe, only to lose its original charm. As we know, tomatoes are the foundation upon which many wonderful meals are constructed but taken singularly they are a true delight.

Tomato season is at its height right now, and we are being presented with healthy specimens to devour. The truth is, garden stock really outshines supermarket stock when it comes to the flavour of these beauties, so it seemed a shame to mask this in a pasta or casserole. Rather than sacrifice this rarity, I rallied the tomatoes’ flavour cousins: basil and parmesan, and built some rather clumsy rustic bruschetta on sour dough for lunch this week.

Tomato Bruschetta

If even that seems to be taking things a little too far, slice them in half and season with salt and pepper – a between meal snack that any nutritionist worth their salt would have to approve of.

Brown paper bag

Postscript: Some of you may have noticed I am having a love affair with Instagram at the moment, hence the ”’arty tomarty” images. I urge you to get involved and unearth your inner Annie Leibovitz.

recipes

Ham

slow roasted beans

By this stage of the season, simple is the adjective we reach for when thoughts turn to the day’s upcoming menu.

On recent supermarket visits, I notice basic items – the likes of yoghurt, eggs and honest loaves returning to people’s trolleys in an attempt to restore equilibrium after lavish seasonal feasting. Lovely as it is to enjoy the spoils of Christmas, we eventually seek out the familiar constituents our system and soul relies upon throughout the mainstay of the year.

Delectable leftovers must not be ignored either – so constructing a meal that incorporates feast remnants in a toned-down fashion, is the aim. Our succulent ham, after featuring as the celebration table hero, took a backseat to some lovely baby tomatoes and the pantry staple – beans. Here’s how it went:

750g small tomatoes
bulb of garlic separated into individually peeled cloves
200g chopped ham of the bone (small chunks, not thin slices)
salt and pepper
2 cans of beans (butter, cannellini or whatever you prefer) drained and rinsed
1/2cup chicken or vege stock
small bunch of oregano sprigs
feta cheese to serve

Place tomatoes, garlic and ham in a roasting pan, and cook for 30 minutes in a 180 degree celsius oven for 30 minutes. Season with pepper and a little salt. Once the tomatoes are shrivelling and the ham has crisped a little, add the beans, stock and oregano and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and crumble feta over the top. Serve with warmed pita bread.

pita beans hamPostscript:Ham still in plentiful supply, any further suggestions welcome…

 

recipes

Pomodoro

Characteristics of a good friend: reliable, flexible, of substance, mood elevating. Homemade tomato sauce is therefore an exceptional ally.

What’s more, it is extremely reassuring to know you have this chum in the freezer, as within a short space of defrosting time, you can be nursing a fresh bowl of pasta al pomodoro. My stash is often called upon on pizza night – sloshed over simple homemade bases with a selection of delicacies on top – divine. Equally good as a bed for the humble meatball, this sauce just keeps on giving.

All angst concerning overripe tomatoes threatening to be wasted is alleviated. These specimens make the most delectable sauce. With summer approaching you are bound to be confronted with garden surplus or irresistible market deals – make lots, freeze plenty and feel smug.

1/4 cup olive oil
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and black pepper
small bunch fresh oregano leaves, torn

Heat the oil in saucepan over a medium heat. Add the tomatoes and simmer until they become pulpy and the sauce begins to thicken. Add garlic, stir through and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir through oregano. Using a stick blender, puree to a consistency you are happy with. I like mine to contain plenty of tomato chunks. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.