Friday, 18 September 2020

Late summer tomato salads

So I know I have posted many of these sorts of posts but my tomato pictures always seem to go down quite well on Instagram and I do love a tomato salad so thought I'd post another regardless. 

I am SO partial to a tomato salad, or tomato based dish in general. I love them just as a salad, on toast, mixed with cheese (cheddar, feta, Parmesan or goats cheese in particular, but also most other cheeses), or as a sauce with pasta, rice etc. 

This time of year they are even better that usual as I am picking them fresh off the vine and there isn't much that tastes better than a sun ripened tomato picked fresh off the vine covered liberally in salt, pepper and some olive oil. 

With that said then, here's a few pictures of some that I have had this week, along with some pictures of how my tomatoes in the garden have been getting on. It has to be sad, they've been very slow this year, namely because summer has been so hit and miss, but we've had a little blast of summer this week and it's really helped them along.

 I have also been utilising lots of the advice I put in this Instagram post and that also seems to have helped, though I am, of course, not quite sure which bits have helped as I tried everything at the same time- there wasn't much time for experimenting. It may, then, have been any one of these things that worked, or perhaps it was just the sunshine, either way as long as they're ripening I am not too bothered. 

And that's it really, I just thought I'd throw out that quick post in case you might be interested, but also because, as I have said before, it is nice to have these little memories stored somewhere for me to look back on. These are funny, anxiety inducing times, but it's nice to remember these little moments of calm and happiness, of late summer lunches spent outside and seeing the fruits blossoming from plants I started right in the heart of lockdown. 


Thursday, 3 September 2020

Five ways to use up courgettes (that aren't just courgetti and courgette cakes)

So it is officially courgette (zucchini) season and they are coming thick and fast as they always do. As usual I made the mistake of planting too many and I am harvesting them daily now. I do however have lots of recipes that use them up, both because I like to grow them a lot but also because back in my very low carb days I used to eat them a lot as they are much lower in carbs than many of the other vegetables. I thought, then, that I'd share a few ways I like to use them. You probably have already tried lots of the obvious ways like courgetti/ zoodles, fritters with cheese and stuffed courgettes so I've not really covered those, 

The first way is as a sort of ravioli, you can do this with quark and herbs if you want a really low calorie low carb meal or with a fattier cheese if you're just watching carbs and aren't so bothered with the calories. I love this either with pesto or tomato sauce but a really quick and easy way to do it is to fill a baking tray with tomatoes and herbs and then place the ravioli on top and bake it all together. It's really good, and while it's not quite ravioli, it's a lovely alternative and despite looking very fiddly it's also really quick. I wrote the recipe here but really it's more of an inspiration and you can just mix it up with what you have available. I will warn you that I write this recipe years ago, in 2014, and took the photos with my phone camera in very bad light. 

A recipe I saw a few years ago and have made loads and loads is the courgette confit from Nigel Slater. You can find the recipe here and it's lovely to keep in, it lasts for days and goes well on a cheese board or with a picnic. To make it you basically cut the courgettes into little rounds and then bake/ roast them with olive oil, plenty of herbs and lemon, you then leave it to cool and dispense into an airtight jar and keep in the fridge. He suggests even having them with labneh/ yoghurt, which I haven't tried but sounds nice and a very different way to have them. 

The last way is as a sort of crisp. Again super easy and you can mix this up a little depending on what spice/ flavouring you use. You just slice them thinly, coat with oil and then either Parmesan and garlic powder or perhaps sweet or smoked paprika, or even just salt, then lay on a baking tray in single layers, none overlapping, and bake for around 15 minutes. Eat them warm when they'll be lovely and crispy, reheated they aren't so good and go quite soggy (though still nice just quite different). 

I hope they've given you some ideas! Just writing these has made me fancy them again so I might make a couple of these over the weekend. Also worth a notable mention are, using them in soup, either alongside other ingredients, or as the main hero, alongside say mint and feta as a more summery soup, or tomatoes for a slightly heavier, more wintery soup. Please do let me know if you have any ways I haven't thought of, I am always always open to thinking about new ways to eat them and use them up! 

© The Vegetarian Atkins Diary

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