A Food & Travel Blog

Easy Cherry Tomato and Thyme Tart

22/02/2019 | By

I can get carried away by the sight of all the gorgeous produce at farmer’s markets – but my Cherry Tomato and Thyme Tart is an absolute winner!

 

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Waking, feeling refreshed and with an empty fridge, on Saturday morning I decided to get myself to one of our regional South Australian farmer’s markets, the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market.

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Home-Made Tomato Sauce – Too Easy!

07/04/2017 | By

As the last of the summer fruit shows up in the stores, it’s time to grab some inexpensive, over-ripe tomatoes & whip up your own home-made tomato sauce.

home-made tomato sauce

Well the new kitchen is up and running, albeit with raw, scarred walls where the old tiles were removed, which is pretty ugly – so I have no update on these images just yet (except for a tiny hint I shared on Instagram last week).

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Another Organic Alternative – Tomato Tart

17/02/2014 | By

Tasty organic tomatoes add real flavour to this gorgeous Tomato Tart – perfect for a snack, a light meal, or sliced up as finger food at your next party.

organic tomatoes for tomato tart

There’s a growing move amongst consumers towards organic food as more people recognise the value of eating chemical and additive-free food – and this organic tomato tart is a simple way to begin adding it to your own repertoire.

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Spring and a Tomato and Three Cheese Tart

06/10/2013 | By

Tomatoes

Like everyone else in this world, I’ve gushed about spring in the past and droned on rapturously about the sunshine, flowers, birdies, bees, blah, blah, blah. That’s all lovely, of course, but there is another side to spring that has slightly fewer charms. I’m talking about the swallows which insist on annually nesting on my outdoor blinds, pooping all over said blinds and the table and chairs below. Or how about the changeable weather with it’s sunshine, gentle breezes, howling gales and pouring rains – often all in the course of just a few hours, meaning I am continuously underdressed or overdressed. Last week the evening temperature up here plummeted to 5C – just when we’d run out of fire wood. Then there’s the skyrocketing pollen counts and the subsequent cost of boxes of tissues and giant economy-sized packets of anti-histamines. And, most exciting of all, the sudden appearance of hungry and aggressively bad-tempered brown snakes who, combined with the triffid like growth of the grass/plants/weeds around our property, make my trips to the hen house to collect the eggs an anxiety-ridden scuttle, complete with long rubber boots and a machete. I’m telling you, it’s not all beer and skittles up here in springtime in the hills.

My first spring roses

Spring flowers, Columbine

There – I’m glad I’ve got that little moan off my chest.

Spring lavender & bee

Spring flowers, Banksia Rose

One thing I always welcome at this time of the year, though, is the reappearance of the first of the seasonal tomatoes. Tomatoes in general are mostly a disappointment these days, with even the pricey, vine-ripened ones failing to deliver much in the way of flavour, and my complete and utter inability to grow them up here means that I’m reliant on those I buy at the farmers markets. However, I recently made a slightly happy discovery with the purchase of a punnet of the mini Roma tomatoes from my local Foodland store. They seem to have a little more flavour than other commercially available tomatoes and really come into their own when slow roasted.

Tomato & 3 Cheese Tart

This recipe uses the tomatoes after they’ve been slow-roasted and, with frozen puff pastry and lots of fresh herbs from my garden, is another of my lazy-girl cheats dishes. I made it for my dear friend Liz for lunch the other day, along with a big plate of brownies for dessert and we were both pretty happy with the meal. Just one tip, watch the baking of this tart like a hawk. I didn’t and let it go just a little too long – it tasted great, but didn’t photograph so well.

Tomato and Three Cheese Tart

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Amanda McInerney of www.lambsearsandhoney.com

Ingredients

  • 300 gms mini Roma tomatoes halved
  • 50 mls olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry thawed
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese either mozzarella or cheddar, you decide
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 100 gms goats chevre or feta
  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 150C (300F).
  • Toss halved tomatoes, 1/2 the bunch of thyme leaves, 1/2 the bunch of oregano leaves, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl, then place the tomatoes on a lined baking tray, cut side up. Place in oven and roast for 1 hour. Leave to cool slightly.
  • Raise oven temperature to 200C (400F).
  • Place thawed pastry on a sheet of oven-proof paper, cover with another sheet and roll out gently to a rectangular shape.
  • Leaving the pastry on the bottom sheet of paper, place it on a baking tray and using a sharp knife score a line 2 cms around the four sides of the inside of the pastry, making a 2 cm frame around the edge of the pastry.
  • Sprinkle the interior rectangle with the cheddar cheese and the parmesan cheese and dot with the slightly cooled, roasted tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves and brush the pastry edge with egg wash.
  • Bake in oven for 15-17 minutes - no longer or cheese will overcook.
  • Scatter the tart with crumbled goats chevre or feta, then sprinkle with the remaining oregano leaves.

 

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Cherry Tomato Confit

09/04/2013 | By

Summer seems to be lingering in Adelaide at the moment.  Not in a nasty “Oh, my god it’s going to be how hot today?” kind of way, but in a very pleasant warm, sunny “I think we’ll have lunch outside again” kind of way.  Never mind that my summer clothes are starting to look just a little tired or that I am unable to get away with the five day stubble on my legs – I might as well enjoy the weather while it lasts.  Although, if the weather gods are listening, it would be totally perfect if we could have some rain at night.  My poor garden is very thirsty.

There are still lots of lovely, ripe tomatoes to be found and I’m happy to eat them while I can, but I haven’t quite finished stocking up on some for the duller days ahead.   One beautiful way to save the fresh taste of summer tomatoes is to slow cook them in the oven and store them in oil.  I used cherry tomatoes for this.  These small, red bombs are gorgeously sweet and intense.  Cooking them in this way deepens and compounds the taste, making them little explosions of potent summer flavours in your mouth – evoking the sunnier days gone by.  I’m not too sure how long they will keep in your fridge as I’ve never had the opportunity to find out in this house – they are snapped up pretty quickly.

I’ve been known to eat these with a spoon straight out of the jar, but they are also good in salads, tossed through pasta or on foccaccia.  For this batch I added fresh thyme and garlic, but rosemary, oregano and/or chilli flakes would be quite wonderful too.  The taste of the olive oil will be important here, so try not to skimp on the quality.  Make sure that your jars are very clean – wash with hot soapy water and dry in the oven, or run them through a hot cycle in the dishwasher.  Like so much of my cooking this recipe is dead simple, but the end result is really, really more than the sum of it’s parts.

Cherry Tomato Confit

Little bombs of summer flavour to brighten up the duller days ahead.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Author: Amanda McInerney of www.lambsearsandhoney.com

Ingredients

  • 1 kg ripe cherry tomatoes stalks removed, halved
  • 100 mls good olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and very finely sliced
  • Sprigs of fresh herbs of your choice thyme, rosemary or oregano are great
  • Sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • Extra olive oil for storing

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 170C.
  • Drizzle some of the oil over the base of an oven-proof dish and spread to make a film over base of dish.
  • Place tomatoes cut side down in dish.
  • Sprinkle with garlic and herbs, then drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook in oven for 40-50 minutes until tomatoes are soft and just collapsing, but not charred.
  • Cool, then place in jars and cover with extra olive oil.
  • Store in refrigerator.

 

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Tomatoes and me – Spicy Tomato Chutney & A Quiet Easter Break

05/04/2013 | By

My Easter break this year was a little different from usual – and significantly quieter.  I have finally managed to convince the very hard-working Husband that it is okay to take a break and enjoy some time that is just for him – no work, no kids, no me – although it wasn’t easy to start with.  Last year we managed to persuade him (or bully him, depends who’s telling the story) to accept an invitation to go up to the Byron Bay Blues Festival with a group of friends.

Our family are all big music fans and have been WOMADelaide devotees (or tragics, again it depends who’s telling the story) since it began here, taking the kids in backpacks when they were small.  We all knew The Husband would love Byron Bay, but it took all sorts of cajoling, nagging and manipulation to get him to agree to go away for a week without us and there were even unfortunate scenes in the car on the way to the airport, as he resisted to the bitter end.  Contrary to his expectations, the world did not cease to turn, either in a domestic or commercial sense, he actually relaxed and enjoyed himself and happily set off again last week, leaving me with the assorted offspring.

Given that our eldest has moved out of the familial nest, our son is at the age where he disappears for days at a time and the youngest had an hour-long general anaesthetic to dig wisdom teeth out of her jaw on the Wednesday before the Easter break, I knew things were going to be pretty uneventful over the weekend.  Glad of an excuse to do very little – and to have the remote control to myself – the four day break looked quite good from where I was sitting. (Perhaps less so for my poor, swollen and bruised baby, though.)

I happily engrossed myself in the pile of books by my bedside, the menu of murder mysteries on the television, the thorough perusal of Paula Wolfert’s book “The Food of Morocco” to select the lunch menu for a family meal on Easter Sunday (harcha, vegetable couscous and salmon poached with preserved lemon, raisins & pine nuts, followed by cheese and chocolate) and the big box of late, cooking tomatoes that I purchased on Thursday afternoon.  In between the above, plus playing on the internet, tending to my daughter’s needs for nourishing, but soft, foods and administering pain relief I had a lovely time turning these bruised and over-ripe fruits in to chutney, tomato sauce (ketchup) and tomato sugo.  I now have a fridge and freezer full of summer ready to brighten up the winter months.

The tomato sugo recipe I use is one that I’ve posted before here.  It is a simple recipe, but oven-cooked, thus maximising the sweetness of the tomatoes, and is a rich base for soups, casseroles or pizzas.  I made the tomato sauce (ketchup) in my trusty Thermomix using my modified version of a gorgeous recipe from the very clever Quirky Jo – check out her version here.  The chutney was my own recipe.  I like a bit of spicy flavour  with chutney, but not too much heat, so I’m generous with the ginger and spices, but less so with the chilli.  Chutney is simple to make, keeps for ages in the fridge, is a deliciously tasty addition to a cheese platter and, like so much else, always nicer when you make it yourself.

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Condiment
Author: Amanda McInerney of www.lambsearsandhoney.com

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 kgs tomatoes roughly chopped (I used Romas)
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 level tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1-1 1/2 hours until thickened.
  • Sterilise jars by scalding with boiling water or running through a hot cycle in a clean dishwasher. Dry by standing upside down in warm oven.
  • When cooked, pour chutney into hot jars (pouring hot chutney into cold jars will make the jars crack), seal, cool and store in fridge.

That’s how I filled in my delicious four days.  How about you, my lovelies – how did you enjoy the break?

 

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