Sunday, 6 February 2011


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

A quick recipe:

Sometimes, all I want in the world is a roasted tomato. British tomatoes are so sad and dull and flavourless that this is really the only way to get some taste into them. I still remember with yearning the time I went to stay with my friend Sophie in San Francisco, and we went to a restaurant where they brought the heirloom tomatoes out on a special tomato trolley, and you chose, and then they solemnly sliced them in front of you and anointed them with grassy olive oil and laid them reverentially on the table. Why is it that the Americans have proper respect for the tomato while we do not?

Anyway, this is also a good way to use up slightly old tomatoes, which is what I had hanging about today. looking rather balefully at me.

Chop them in half; lay in a roasting dish; put a pinch of finely chopped garlic on each one; then very slightly more sea salt than you think; then a sprinkle of basil or parsley; then a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I apologise for using the world drizzle.

Cook at about 160 for about forty-five minutes. You can cook them for twenty-five minutes at 200, but I find the lower, slower cooking produces a better taste.

I am going to eat mine with a bloody steak, because I always need the iron, but they come out so lovely you could just have them on their own.

And if there are any entrepreneurs reading this, won't you please set up an heirloom tomato business, so I can get those lovely green and yellow and amber beauties that I remember with so much affection from my days on the west coast? Is it too much to ask to have a tomato that actually tastes of something? And why have the good, patient Britons put up with it for so long?

Pictures appear to be almost exclusively very, very close shots of wood. Do not ask me why.


7th Feb 2

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All these different kinds of wood, in one short quarter mile. I find that extraordinary.

Speaking of remarkable things:

7th Feb 17

7th Feb 10

And the hill is back, in all its glory:

7th Feb 17-1


  1. Coincidentally, I just spread basil pesto on a thick sheet of puff pastry and then covered it with halved cherry tomatoes (the only rich tasting tomatoes available this time of year) and baked it for about 15 minutes. It is heavenly and the cooking, even so briefly, makes the tomatoes sing with flavour. Tell me an address to send heirloom tomato seeds and I'll put some packets in the mail for you. This is just the time to start the seedlings for spring planting, and Tucson has several seed-saving organisations to choose among.

  2. The quality of tomatoes in winter in Switzerland is pretty dire too, unless you get the vine ones. Roasted tomatoes also make the very best, most tasty tomato soup, which is simmering away on the hob as I type.

    I won't say 'enjoy', because people who say that irritate me beyond measure. So I'll say it in Swiss German:

    En guete!

  3. I live in the US, and even here, it is almost impossible to get a decent tomato in the dead of winter. The only tomatoes I will even try to eat then are cherry or grape tomatoes, which more-or-less approximate the real experience.

  4. And as someone who has just eaten an heirloom tomato salad here in Key West, where I'm spending an idyllic month, I can only support your comments. The thing is, tomatoes really need heat and lots of sun, and even the ones I buy in a farmers' market in London (from the Isle of Wight) don't really make the grade. Italy, that's what a fine old-fashioned tomato needs. Warm parts of the USA will do, but Italy really makes them sing happy songs.

  5. Sounds wonderful. We are looking at trying to get a decent varierty of tomato to grow this year one as you say that actually tastes of something! Any suggestions welcome!

  6. Some of the wood close-ups remind me of Google Earth maps....a universe in a grain of...well, in this case, grains of wood?

    Pat (in Belgium)

  7. Lovely comments - thank you. So glad I am not alone in my slight tomato obsession!


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