Fried Aubergines and Tomato

fried aubergines and tomatoI invented this recipe for fried aubergines and tomato the other day and it doesn’t really have a name – it’s really just fried aubergines and tomatoes with a bit of salt – a bit like a simpler version of ratatouille but without the other ingredients. The aubergines are starting to ripen at the moment and it won’t be long before we have plenty of them so I’m trying out different ways of cooking them in preparation.

One of the problems with frying aubergines is that they absorb a lot of the oil. So, in this recipe I dry fry them for ten minutes in a frying pan or so before adding any oil, giving the aubergine pieces enough time to take on a lovely golden brown colour.

 

fried potato cake

Fried Aubergines and Tomato

This recipe is quick to prepare and is best served warm.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium-sized aubergines, halved lengthways and then cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely grated
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

METHOD

  1. Heat a frying pan on a high heat.
  2. When hot, add the aubergine slices, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn them over and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt.
  5. Keep turning the aubergines every so often until they have got some good colour.
  6. Add the tomatoes and fry on a high heat for another couple of minutes
  7. Turn the heat down low and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  8. Leave the lid on and leave in the pan until you need to serve them.

Gazpacho

gazpacho tomatoes

GAZPACHO

This is my second recipe for gazpacho. My first recipe (Andalusian gazpacho) is the more traditional recipe that uses onion, cucumber, garlic, green pepper and garlic, but today I wanted to make a more tomato-based, thinner version like the one they serve in glasses in bars in towns around Andalucía, and Sevilla where I have fond memories of it from.

You must use ripe tomatoes with plenty of flavour for this recipe. Our tomatoes are generally ready at the beginning of August, so if I fancy making this before then, I will use plum tomatoes which tend to have more flavour than other early varieties.

This recipes serves two but it can be easily adapted.

Gazpacho

It only takes a few minutes to prepare this refreshing, cold tomato soup which is perfect for hot, summer days.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cider vinegar
  • 2 capfuls balsamic vinegar
  • cider vinegar
  • 50g stale bread
  • ½ cup water
  • salt

METHOD

  1. Core and roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a food blender with the garlic.
  2. Blend for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of cider vinegar and a teaspoon of salt, and blend well.
  4. Roughly chop the stale bread and add to the blender with a teaspoon of home-made mayonnaise.
  5. Add the water and continue to blend.
  6. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Huevos rancheros recipe

Huevos rancheros recipe

huevos ranchros recipe

Huevos rancheros

This huevos rancheros recipe is quick and easy to make. It uses pinto beans, red peppers and spices and the eggs are cracked into the pot to cook just before serving. For more recipe ideas for Mexican food, see Thomasina Miers’ book Mexican Food Made Simple.

INGREDIENTS:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g pinto beans or white beans
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato purée
400g chopped tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
4 eggs
tortillas

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a casserole and fry the onion until soft. Add the red pepper and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the garlic, chilli and spices. Fry for another minute or so to release all the flavours.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, beans, tomato purée, stock and bring to the boil. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or so until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Cut the flour tortillas into wedges and fry in a frying pan with a smidgeon of oil until crispy.

Make 4 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each one. Cover and cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the eggs have set.

Serve with the tortillas.

huevos ranchros recipe

Huevos rancheros

 

Preserving tomatoes

canning tomatoes

Preserving tomatoes: canning

Summer means tomato salads, gazpacho and salmorejo but when tomato production is in full flow and supplies are starting to mount up, that’s the time to start canning. Over the years, I’ve experimented with all different kinds of canning methods but this is now the method I use to ensure that we have tomatoes all year.

 I use a pressure cooker but if you haven’t got one, then use a large pan and cook for longer.

The first job is to clean your jars. My jar of choice is the 400g one they sell chickpeas, pinto beans, etc. in. Clean all the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Leave to dry upside down on a tray with a teatowel until you need them. Discard any lids with dents in.

Wash and chop the tomatoes into pieces, removing the central core. Transfer to a large, wide frying pan or wok with some salt and bring to the boil. The amount of salt will obviously depend on the size of the pan, but generally speaking I will add 3 teaspoons for a very large pan. We normally do this part of the process outside on the barrel burner. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes are softer and have started to release their juice.

The next part of the process is to separate the tomato pieces from the tomato juice. You’ll need two colanders: place one over a large pan and the other on a dish high/large enough to catch the juice. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato pieces into the colander on the dish, using a swirling action to remove as much juice as possible but the tomato pieces shouldn’t be too dry. 

Use a jam funnel and a dessert spoon to fill the clean jars with tomato pieces to the “shoulder” of the jar. Top up the jars with the tomato juice to about 5-7mm from the top and use the spoon to make sure that there are no air pockets in the jars. Put the lids on the jars and close securely but not overly tight.

You will always have more juice than you need but you can use this for soup or return to the pan and reduce down to form a concentrated tomato paste or sauce.

Put a trivet or silicone mat on the bottom of the pressure cook and place the jars on top. Half fill the pressure cooker with water, close the lid and bring to pressure. Cook at pressure for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes. If you have a quick-release cooker, gently run under cold water and release the pressure.

Remove the jars and put somewhere to cool. After about 30 minutes, you should hear the lids popping as they contract. Leave to cool completely. If any of lids has not contracted or if juice has escaped from any of the jars, replace the lids, add some more juice and redo with the next batch.   

tomatoes bain marie

Tomatoes in a bain marie

 

Tomatoes all year?

P1010706

It’s been really exciting having our own bottled tomatoes to enjoy throughout the year until this year’s crop is ready.

Last summer, we used a variety of methods to prepare them before cooking a bain-marie for 15 minutes: boiled tomatoes, concentrated tomato paste, roast tomatoes, smoked roasted tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes.

We’re now busy amassing empty jars for next season’s offerings.

P1010710We made a great, really deep shelf with two batons on either side and then planks of wood going all the way back to the far wall. That way, as we take out jars to reuse them, we can take out the planks so that they are easy to get to.