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Top Tricks With Tomatoes

Top Tricks With Tomatoes

1. When tomatoes are cheap and plentiful, use them to make a large batch of rich red sauce that you can freeze for future use in all sorts of pasta dishes, stews and soups. Here’s how: in a large pot, fry four peeled, chopped onions in olive oil until soft, then add three kilograms of diced tomatoes, four cloves of crushed fresh garlic, and two Knorr Stock Pots of your choice. Cook uncovered over a medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 45 minutes, or until the sauce is deep red and slightly thickened.

Ring the changes by adding snipped fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Let the sauce cool, then spoon it into lidded plastic boxes and freeze until needed.

2. If you’re in a hurry to make a tomato gravy or soup, and don’t want to spend time laboriously chopping everything by hand, try whizzing halved fresh tomatoes in a food processer or blender until you have a slightly coarse purée. You’ll end up with a light-pink, foamy mixture, but don’t worry - this will soon thicken and darken to brick-red once it’s had a chance to simmer on the stove for 45 minutes (see above).

3. Make a simple yet stunning fresh tomato salad by arranging a variety of different shapes, colours and sizes on a large platter – cherry tomatoes, yellow baby tomatoes, striped tomatoes and any other interesting cultivars you can find at the supermarket. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh herbs, then drizzle with a Knorr salad dressing of your choice.

4. Roast cherry tomatoes add fresh bursts of flavour and brilliant colour to simple chicken tray-bakes. Place 12 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks in a deep roasting tray, then arrange a punnet of cherry tomatoes around them. Tuck in a few whole unpeeled cloves of garlic, and scatter with sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme. Now drizzle a bottle of any Knorr vinaigrette salad dressing over everything in the roasting tray.

Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to marinate for two hours. Roast in an oven preheated to 190 ºC for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked right through.

5. To make your own oven-dried tomatoes (similar to sundried tomatoes) arrange 1 kg of halved cherry tomatoes, cut side up, on racks set over baking sheets. Sprinkle with a mixture of two teaspoons (10 ml) of sea salt and two teaspoons of caster sugar. Place the tomatoes in an oven heated to 100 ºC, with the fan on, and leave for 4-6 hours, or until they are dry and shrivelled but still slightly moist on the inside.

6. To peel tomatoes, cut a very shallow X-shape across the top of each one, using a sharp knife. Put the tomatoes into a big pot of boiling water, leave for 1-2 minutes, and then plunge them into a bowl of ice-cold water. Let them sit for a few minutes, then use your fingers to slip off the skins – they will come away easily.

7. If you’re in too much of a hurry to use the method above, here’s how to get the flesh out of tomatoes quickly. Cut each tomato in half crossways. Vigorously grate the cut side of each tomato on the coarse teeth of a cheese grater – the pulp will fall through to the inside, leaving the flattened skin behind on the outside.

8. Are you faced with a mountain of cherry tomatoes that need to be cut in half? Try this clever, time-saving trick: put the tomatoes on a small side plate, then cover them with another identical plate, placed top side down. Press down lightly on the top plate and, using a very sharp knife you’re holding horizontally, carefully run its blade between the two plates to slice all the tomatoes in one go.

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