Simplicity of Tomatoes

Tomato

“Once you have de-seeded the tomatoes then proceed to…..” – do these words make your stomach turn? ūüôā

For some reason the de-seeding of tomatoes had become a horrible task in my mind; something cumbersome and difficult. Something to avoid. Any recipe that required this method was, well, adapted…

Then the other day I realised what many of you probably already are aware of; de-seeding tomatoes is so very simple. So simple.

As I sliced open the tomato, the light pink inner flesh revealing itself I took a few minutes to actually observe the tomato Рto marvel at how it is composed and to see the intricate details of the flesh, the seeds and the skin. Suddenly the de-seeding process was very clear.

A tomato has clever departments, if you will, and when you slice it in half, or in quarters, you notice pockets within it. Each pocket is full of seeds and you can slip a little finger into each pocket and gently scoop out the seeds. Very pain-free, very quick and beautifully simple.

When I told my daughter, of 10 years, she laughed and said “Did you not know that mum? I always use my tongue and suck them out of the pockets”… Made me smile. Children have an amazing gift; exploring while keeping things simple.

Morale of the story: Slow down and enjoy every element of cooking Рespecially  exploring and learning about your ingredients.

What was I cooking? A cold tomato salsa Рde-seeded and chopped tomatoes, finely chopped red onion, garlic, chilli, olive oil and salt.Cool in fridge and dollop generously either onto   burgers or on grilled ciabatta bread that has been rubbed with fresh garlic. On top of the salsa you can then throw some buffalo mozzarella and scatter some basil. Perfect summer BBQ starter (no pictures as it was all eaten way too quickly!)

Take a look at the tomato pictures below and enjoy the next time you are advised to de-seed a tomato!

Pocketspockets

Rye #5 – Thin Rye Crisps

If you have ever gone to IKEA you most probably will have seen the massive, round rye crisps – with a hole in the middle. Essentially, that is what this recipe will make you – but slightly thinner (as this makes a more crisp, crisp!) and I make mine smaller so they are snack size for the children after school.

Why the hole in the middle? In older days when these were made, they were hung on poles to dry by the fire. Cute right?

The recipe is an adaptation of¬†several recipes and my own experimentation! I have¬†added bits from one, bits from another, therefore¬†mentioned must be the recipes of London’s Nordic Bakery, Nigel Slater and Annie Rigg. You can, of course, just buy them at the supermarket but what would be the fun in that? These come out all different shapes and sizes, uneven and individual! Cute as a gift, maybe with a jar of homemade hummus?

As always, full of rye, seeds, quinoa – all great for you! Don’t consider this a diet snack because it actually is not meant to be! It is just a light and crunchy bread that tastes great! How to eat this? With dips – hummus, pesto, olive tapenade or with salmon and cream cheese, mackerel pate, cottage cheese, brie and peppers, as a side to any salad, in the children’s lunch box with a bit of butter on….so many ways! Hope you enjoy!

Thin Rye Crisps

100ml luke warm water
100ml luke warm milk
100g butter (can be substituted with a few tbsp olive oil or omitted)
10g fresh yeast
400g rye flour
100g plain flour
4 tsp small seeds – caraway, sesame, poppy or even sunflower seeds
1 tsp quinoa
1 tsp salt
Optional sea salt for sprinkling
 
  • Gently heat¬†milk and¬†water¬†in a pan until finger warm (if you decide not to add butter, add a bit more water or the olive oil at this stage)
  • Put the yeast in a large¬†bowl and pour the luke warm liquids over the top – whisk the liquids until you have dissolved the yeast
  • Measure out your flour, seeds, quinoa¬†and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and combine until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.¬†Add the luke warm liquids to the¬†mixture – combine to form a ball –
  • If you find your dough to be quite sticky this is also¬†OK – it might be a bit tricky for yo to roll out the crisps later but once baked the taste will be fine. If you do not want it sticky, add a bit more flour
  • Leave in a warm place to rise for an hour – it will probably only puff up slightly but this is fine
  • Pre-heat oven to 210C
  • Once risen, on a slightly floured surface, roll out your dough – thin but not so it falls apart! Probably 2-3mm
  • If you want round crisps, roll little dough balls and use¬†a rolling pin to shape¬†– make a hole in the middle
  • If you want rectangular ones – cut them to that shape. Use cookie cutters to make hearts or other shapes too…cute for different occasions
  • Place the crisps on lined baking trays and punch holes in them with a fork or a grating board – works a treat! You may even be in the possession of a proper, Swedish thin crisp rolling pin…use it if you are!
  • Sprinkle with¬†a bit of sea salt – if you like!
  • Place in the warm oven and bake for between 10-15 minutes – watch them carefully as they are not nice if burned but not crisp if undercooked. Dark brown is good.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack and store in air tight container.

Dough BallRectangular

For round thin crisps

After school snack or in the lunch box!

Rye #4 – Stress Free Carrot and Rye Breakfast Rolls

The reason these are called stress free buns is that¬†you make the dough the day before and leave it to cool overnight – then grab it when you want it, shape your¬†rolls and place them in a cold oven, turn it on¬†and cook¬†for 35 minutes –¬†the result¬†being amazing! While they are cooking you can go for a short run, take a shower or bath, play with the children, read the paper…what ever you fancy! And when your timer goes off, breakfast is served – stress free! Combine with a big mug of coffee, some orange juice, slice of cheese with a dollop of¬†strawberry compote…heaven!!!!

As with all my rye recipes they are jam-packed with goodness! The seeds and carrot only add to it – and the children absolutely adore them.

I like to make the dough on a Friday afternoon – sometimes a double portion – then Saturday and Sunday breakfast becomes a treat and a really lovely time where we can sit together as a family and enjoy. There is nothing like a freshly baked roll in the morning.

This recipe¬†is a mix of my Dad’s and my¬†Mum’s – thank you both!

300ml (ish) luke warm water
15g fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp dry yeast
Drizzle of honey
250g rye flour
150g plain flour
1.5 carrots – grated
Handful sunflower seeds or more
Salt
1 tbsp olive oil
 
  • Pour luke warm water into a big bowl and dissolve the yeast – fresh or dry – in it with a wooden spoon
  • Drizzle honey in and stir
  • Add the flour – both types – stir to combine. What you want is a dough that is sticky but not runny. It should make your hands messy…but not too wet. You definitely do not want it too dry. So add the flour slowly and stir as you go.

  • Throw in the grated carrot and seeds, season with salt and add a bit of olive oil – about 1 tbsp
  • Put a lid or tea towel over the bowl and leave in a cool place. If you have a larder, great, if not the fridge is good. Walk away!
  • The day after, the dough will have risen and be spongy, it may also smell slightly sour and yeasty. That is fine! It will not have risen a lot as the rye flour is heavy.

  • Shape¬†small dough balls with your hands¬†and place the rolls on a lined baking tray – as mentioned earlier the dough will be sticky. Rolling each bun in a little flour will make it easier and neater – for a more rustic¬†appearance, see note further down!

  • Pop in a cold oven, turn it to 225C and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating

If you are lazy, or do not want to get your hands sticky, you can simply drop the batter onto the baking tray with a wooden spoon Рthis will give you a more rustic looking bun and it does not affect the flavour at all!