“knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is knowing not to put it into a fruit salad”

Leaving your tomatoes to ripen on the vine gives them the most flavourful taste.  Most people refrigerate tomatoes but this changes the texture and flavour of the tomato remarkably and it is best to store your tomatoes at room temperature.

These days our supermarkets are all about tomatoes – big and small, ribbed, smooth, red, yellow, green.  I’ve been making tomato salads, and have been adding pieces of tomatoes at the end of most the dishes that I cook, I’ve been making tomato tarts and tomato soup.  The one dish that I look forward to on a Sunday morning is cooking and serving  a Shakshuka breakfast to my family and friends.  This wonderful recipe is from the Yotam Ottolenghi’s cook book “Jerusalem” and it goes as follows:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp harissa paste

2 tsp tomato purée

2 large red peppers cut into cubes

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

5 large, very ripe tomatoes, chopped (tinned are also fine)

4 medium free-range eggs plus 4 egg yolks

120g Labneh or thick yoghurt


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the harissa, tomato puree, peppers, garlic, cumin and a pinch of salt.  Stir and cook on a moderate heat for 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes or until you have a thick sauce.  Season to taste.

Make 8 little dips in the sauce, gently break the eggs and carefully pour each one into its own dip.  Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny (you can cover pan in the process).

Remove pan from heat, leave for a couple of minutes to settle, then spoon into individual plates and serve with yoghurt.

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