Cherry tomatoes are in season and great to use in the following recipes

Cherry tomatoes are a smaller variety of the common garden tomato, they are generally sweeter than the larger fruits.

Although usually red, cherry tomatoes come in yellow, green, and also a lovely red black variety. 

Grape tomatoes are a more elongated version of the cherry and are about the same size.

A mixture of colours shapes and sizes can add an interesting note to salads and other dishes.

I buy a few handfuls each week, at this time of year, from an admirable grower called Jenny McNally. 

Jenny and her family sell a wide variety of fruit and vegetables year round that they grow on their family homestead in North County Dublin.

I look forward to their cherry tomatoes each year, they are little bursts of sweetness that can be eaten straight out of the paper bag.

Cherry tomatoes are in season and great to use in the following recipes

Cherry tomatoes are believed to be predecessors to the larger tomatoes that we more commonly use. 

The first evidence of their existence is growing wild on the shores of South America, they were then first cultivated by the Aztecs in at least the 15th century.

The yellow variety were the first cherry tomatoes to be cultivated in Europe, rather than the now more popular red ones.

Because of their diminutive size, cherry tomatoes soften and cook quicker than larger tomatoes and once cooked they keep all of their intense tomatoey flavour.

Roasted with a little oil, vinegar and a little honey, they can be scooped over a variety of dishes.

They work particularly well with eggs for a weekend breakfast omelette or stirred through a risotto or spooned over a pork chop.

I often scramble a few eggs with herbs and serve them simply on toast with a spoon of roasted cherry tomatoes on top. 

In the egg and bacon recipe included here I have served the tomatoes with a poached egg. 

It is worth pairing them with eggs in different ways to get the breakfast you like.

The blueberry loaf is a dairy free cake and is best eaten soon after it is taken from the oven. 

If you do not have blueberries to hand it also works wonderfully with raspberries.

I like the addition of elderflower, it adds a floral hint and is very seasonal this time of year.

QUICK MID-WEEK MEALS

Prawns with cherry tomatoes and melted feta

Cherry tomatoes are in season and great to use in the following recipes

rice for four

a large knob of butter

a dash of rapeseed oil

500g of prawns, peeled and de veined, I usually ask my fishmonger to do this

6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

a punnet of cherry tomatoes, about 300g

2 tsp of honey

a dash of lemon juice

100mls of stock

a small bunch of parsley, chopped

a handful of feta, crumbled

a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

a piece of crunchy bread

Put the rice on to boil in lightly-salted water and drain when cooked.

Melt the butter and add a little oil to prevent it burning. 

Add the prawns and half of the garlic and gently stir fry until all of the prawns are pink. 

Set aside on a plate.

In the same pan, add another dash of oil and stir the garlic, chilli and tomatoes. 

Add in the honey, lemon juice and stock and allow to bubble away until the tomatoes are soft. 

Add the prawns back in and allow everything to mix together. 

Serve in the pan with the feta crumbled over while still hot and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve the bread and rice on the side.

Minced lamb stir fry with tomatoes and coriander

Cherry tomatoes are in season and great to use in the following recipes

rice for four

400g of minced lamb

a dash of rapeseed oil

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

2 thumb size pieces of ginger, finely chopped

4 tbs of soya sauce

½ tbs of honey

zest of 2 limes, juice of 1 small one

3 spring onions, sliced

1 head of pak choy, leaves pulled apart and larger leaves sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

a bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped separately

Put the rice on to boil in lightly salted water and drain when cooked.

Heat the oil in a large wok and fry the garlic, chilli and ginger for thirty seconds. 

Add the lamb and and brown it all over. Add the soya sauce, honey and lime juice and zest. 

Taste and season.

Stir in the spring onions, pak choy, coriander stalks and tomatoes. 

The heat should wilt the pak choy almost straight away.

Serve with the rice and sprinkle the coriander leaves over the mince.

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND

Poached eggs and bacon with roasted cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are in season and great to use in the following recipes

a dash of rapeseed oil

16 cherry tomatoes, halved drizzle of balsamic vinegar

2 tsp of honey

a small bunch of thyme, removed from the stalk

8 smoked back rashers

a dash of white wine vinegar

4 large eggs

8 slices of bread and a spread of butter

4 generous tsp of creme fraiche

a small bunch of chives, chopped

Toss the cherry tomatoes in the oil, honey, vinegar, thyme and seasoning. 

Place into an oven heated to 180 degrees for five minutes. 

Then place the rashers on top and place back into the oven until the rashers are cooked through and the tomatoes have softened.

Put the white wine vinegar into a small saucepan of boiling water. 

Once it is at a simmering boil crack your first egg onto a saucer. 

Swirl the water so there is a hollow in the centre and tip your egg into it. Cook to your liking and remove with a slotted spoon. 

I usually cook for just three minutes so that it is still soft in the center.

Toast and butter your bread. 

Spoon the tomatoes and bacon over the toast and sit the egg on top. 

Place a spoon of creme fraiche on top of the egg and sprinkle with the chives and serve.

Elderflower and blueberry loaf

Cherry tomatoes are in season and great to use in the following recipes

335g of self raising flour

175g of caster sugar

zest of two oranges

125 mls of elderflower cordial

100 mls of orange juice

3 eggs

4½ tbs of olive oil

150g of blueberries

Line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

Sieve the flour and caster sugar and stir in orange zest.

In a separate bowl beat elderflower cordial, orange juice, eggs and olive oil.

When this is well blended add to the dry ingredients.

Stir in the blueberries and scoop the mixture into the lined tin.

Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.


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