Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

I love tomatoes. Big beefsteak tomatoes, tiny cherry tomatoes and regular slicing tomatoes, I absolutely could not be without them in my kitchen. As well as popping sweet, vine ripened cherry tomatoes in my mouth while pottering around my kitchen, tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients. Here, in these Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes their flavour is intensified by roasting slowly and enhanced with the addition of basil. Simple yet mouth wateringly good!

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Since British tomatoes are just coming into season, I want to use them as much as possible in my recipes. While I have successfully grown tomatoes of our own, blight has been a problem over the last few years, so I have stopped. Instead relying on our local farm shop and Waitrose, who stock British tomatoes for a good part of the year. Also I should add a quick thank you to all of the farmers who grow tomatoes and mange to extend the season using poly tunnels.

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

While tomatoes roast in the oven their flavour intensifies. As the heat starts to dehydrate them, so the flavours become less diluted. Given nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil, the resulting flavour is both sweet and savoury. As well as being a fantastic side dish to fish and chicken, I also enjoy  spreading warm tomatoes on to fresh bread and eating just as it is.

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

One thing I should mention is that I have used cold pressed Rapeseed oil. Made locally by Kentish Oils, it is golden yellow in colour and has a soft, slightly nutty flavour. It really compliments the tomato and basil flavours, rather than competing with them. Perfect for roasting and dressing the tomatoes.

Recipe: Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Amounts given per 450g/1lb Fresh Tomatoes

1 tbsp Cold Pressed Rapeseed/Canola Oil plus extra for drizzling after roasting – I use Kentish Oils 

1/2tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I prefer Maldon

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Small Handful Fresh Basil Leaves – approximately 10 leaves

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

You will need a large baking tray for this recipe.

  • First of all wash and dry the tomatoes.
  • Cut large tomatoes in half and leaver smaller ones on the vine.
  • Place the tomatoes on to a baking tray and drizzle over the oil.
  • Sprinkle over with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place in the centre of the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Preparing the tomatoes for roasting.
  • As soon as the tomatoes are cooked remove from the oven.
FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slow Roasted Tomatoes ready to be topped with fresh Basil.
  • Using a fish slice or slotted spoon carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes to a serving plate.
  • Roughly chop the basil leaves and scatter over the tomatoes.
  • Finally drizzle a little oil over the tomatoes and leave until warm, not hot, before serving.
FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Because hot tomatoes will burn your mouth, it is best to leave these to cool until just warm before eating. Doing so ensures that you get the maximum flavour that these beauties have to offer. Also these tomatoes taste delicious when cold.

Any leftover tomatoes can be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes you may also like these:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread 

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

While I happily use tinned tomatoes in my pasta dishes, such as this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, I plan to actively create more recipes with fresh tomatoes this Summer. Since we tend to eat lighter meals during the warmer months I am looking forward to the challenge. Especially as I am aware that this blog most definitely needs more savoury recipes!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Kentish Oils sent me a small bottle of cold pressed Rapeseed oil to try. All opinions and content are my own, for which I have not received any payment.

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

So, as we continue to enjoy our British Summer, I would like to celebrate the abundance of seasonal vegetables available at this time of the year. Along with birds chirping early in the mornings and long, sunny, warm summer days, the variety of vegetables, bought or home grown, really allows me as a  home cook to get creative in the kitchen.  Resulting in a Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad that is a delicious celebration of easy summer cooking, using a variety of seasonal vegetables.

FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad.

A Make Ahead Marvel

Packed full of roasted veggies in a lemon vinaigrette, this dish can be either served on its own, or as a colourful side dish. Since it can be served warm, it is a perfect barbecue or buffet dish. Indeed, when made in the morning, then left to sit for a few hours, the flavours develop, enhancing the overall deliciousness. So easy to prepare and make ahead!

FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad full of goodness.

As much as I enjoy a crunchy pasta salad, there is something very comforting in the softened, roasted vegetables here. While roasting they become slightly sweet, with a mere hint of caramelisation. And their flavour is enhanced by the fresh lemon juice in the vinaigrette. Also orzo provides the perfect bite, complimenting the vegetables. Resulting in a dish that lets the vegetable flavours shine, without being overly bulked out with pasta.

Recipe: Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad serves 6

1 Aubergine

2 Courgettes

2 Bell Peppers – deseeded

1 Red Onion – skin removed

1 Large Fennel Bulb – or 2 small

400g Dried Orzo (ensure you use vegan pasta if making for Vegans)

20ml Olive Oil

1 Large Lemon – 20ml of juice

40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I use Filippo Berio

1/2tsp Sea Salt plus 1tbsp for cooking the pasta –  I use Maldon

1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Handful of Fresh Parsley – flat or curly

Note: individual vegetables may be substituted according to preference.

Method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F

Preparing And Roasting The Vegetables

  • First of all, wash and thoroughly dry the vegetables. Follow by chopping into equal 1″/2.5cm pieces.
  • Transfer to a large baking tray.
  • Drizzle over a generous tablespoon of olive oil and one quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • With clean hands toss the vegetables in the seasoned oil, taking care to cover each piece.
  • Spread the vegetables out on the tray. During the cooking process they will reduce slightly in size.
FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Prepared vegetables ready for roasting.
  • Place the baking tray into the centre of a preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through the roasting time.
  • While the vegetables are roasting cook the orzo and make the lemon vinaigrette.

Bringing All The Ingredients Together In One Tasty Dish

  • Place a large pan of cold water on the hob and bring to a boil. When boiling add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and then add the orzo.
  • Squeeze the fresh lemon juice into a small, clean jar that has a fitted lid. Add the extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the lid securely on to the jar and shake vigorously to combine.
  • Cook the orzo according to packet instructions, removing from the heat and draining 2 minutes before the finished cooking time.
  • Place the drained orzo into a bowl and pour over the lemon vinaigrette. Fork through the orzo to ensure the vinaigrette covers each small piece, stopping the pasta from forming clumps.
  • When cooked the vegetables will be softened, allowing a fork to easily pierce. Some pieces may be slightly charred at the edges.
FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Roasted summer vegetables.
  • Spoon or tip the roasted vegetables on top of the orzo.
FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Making Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad.
  • Gently, use two forks to mix the roasted vegetables into the Orzo.
  • Finally, roughly chop a handful of fresh parsley, discarding the stalks and scatter over the salad.
FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad.

If making the same day as eating, cover with cling film and leave on the work top. Yet, when making the day before, leave out the parsley, cool, cover and store in the fridge. Remove and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour, garnish with freshly chopped parsley and then serve.

Since this salad is so versatile, it can be served alongside grilled chicken, salmon, or burgers and ribs at a barbecue. Likewise, it can also be served on its own as a tasty vegetarian or vegan meal.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad you may also like these:

Lime Couscous

FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Lime Couscous.

Roasted Pale Ale Jelly Tomatoes

FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Roasted Pale Ale Jelly Tomatoes.

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo.

While shopping in large supermarkets I find it can be easy to become disconnected with seasonal vegetables. Because of transportation most ‘summer’ vegetables can be easily obtained throughout the year. Since large, super greenhouses have cropped up across the country, most notably in Thanet, Kent, the effect on home grown produce has been to lengthen its season. Also ensuring the public buys British rather than imported produce. Most importantly I fully support this endeavour.

Yet, even with this consideration, there is little to rival the fun of blackberry picking in August and September. Above all connecting us all to nature and the natural season of harvest.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing our feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

FF Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

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Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

It is no secret, to those of you who have visited here before, that I love baking bread. Whether it’s a crusty loaf for sandwiches and toast, or Knotted Poppyseed Roll the flavour and quality of homemade bread wins every time I make it. Since I do not live near an artisan bakery, I now make pretty much all of our own bread, here at home. Today I have something very special to share  my Toma Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

 

I honestly can’t begin to tell you just how yummy this bread is. It truly is proof that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread is taking bites of bread and then experiencing your taste buds explode with all the flavours,  in your mouth.

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

This Focaccia is perfect with pasta (we had it with Lasagne, perfect for mopping up tomato and cheese sauce). I also think it would be great to take on a picnic, served with some good cheddar and a glass of something cold!

Bake Once Eat Twice

I made enough for 2 loaves, so just halve the recipe if only one Focaccia is needed – as the tomatoes won’t freeze well. Alternatively make two and leave the tomatoes off of the loaf you intend to freeze. Double wrap in cling film and the bread will last 3 months in the freezer!

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

 

We love any kind of bread with our meals, especially if it has garlic added. This hit the spot big time and Snugs, who can be a little but careful when it comes to ‘different foods’ loved this!! I guess you could even add some shards of sharp cheddar before baking? Might have to try that!!!!

Recipe : Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread makes 2

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 x 7g Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast

7g Maldon Sea Salt

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling – I use Filippo Berio 

Approx 300-350ml lukewarm water.

16-20 Cherry Tomatoes – halved (half the amount for one Focaccia)

2tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (half the amount for one Focaccia)

4 Cloves of Garlic (half the amount for one Focaccia)

Method : Using bread maker or stand mixer with dough hook attached.

Making The Focaccia Dough

Place 300ml of water into the bowl of your mixer.

Add the yeast and then the flour.

Add 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Now add the salt.

Set the bread maker to the mix/prove cycle.

If the dough seems dry add extra water 20mls at a time until the dough has a smooth elasticity, while being mixed. If the dough is too dry either machine will be clunking!

With a stand mixer mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and elastic. Using Olive oil on your hands to stop the dough sticking, roll the dough into a tight ball, place back into the mixer bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size.

Shaping The Focaccia Dough

Using either method, once the first prove is finished, knock back, restarting the mixing on the bread machine and removing the cling and mix for a further 10 minutes.

Oil 2 x 20cmx20cm (8″ x 8″) square tins.

Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.

Cover and leave to double in size.

Baking The Focaccia

While the bread is proving, preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan oven, gas mark 7, 425F.

As soon as your dough is doubled in size place in the centre of a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Breathe deeply. Mmm, that smell coming out of the oven is your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread. Enjoy, it smells amazing!

 

Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!

Allow the focaccia to cool so that it is just warm before serving. Cut into squares to serve.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Tomato Garlic Focaccia Bread you may also like these:

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Sundried Tomato Olive Focaccia Bread

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Sundried Tomato Olive Focaccia Bread

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

I almost always use a stand mixer and dough hook to knead any dough that I’m making. While I really love the feel of dough in my hands the combination of a bad back and now arthritis in my thumbs joints means it’s painful. Yet by using the mixer I can still make fresh bread for us as a family and I get to shape it by hand. Resulting in a happy me, as I can still bake bread and a happy family who really enjoy fresh, home baked bread.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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