34 | YOU Magazine
Simple tomato and herb sauce This is a very loose recipe that you can adjust quantities and add what you have on hand at the time. It is placed in the crockpot, cooks and is ready when you get home from work. You can then decide how you would like to serve it …
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 1 onion, peeled and roughly diced 2kg tomatoes, approximate in weight and roughly chopped 1/2 t dried chili flakes 2t beef stock 1 carrot, peeled and grated 1 zucchini, peeled and grated Good-sized sprig of rosemary, margoram, oregano and parsley 2 bay leaves
– Place ingredients in a crockpot and leave to cook over a period of time, generally 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 high. Okay… When I say loosely I mean ‘loosely’. This recipe is just a guideline to being confi-
dent in using up what you have in the garden or fridge. By adding the carrot it gives a sweetness that neutralises the acidity of the tomatoes, you could also add parsnip to obtain the same effect. The levels of onion and garlic is also a choice – if you have a cold coming on, up the levels to counteract the symptoms – whenever we feel low on energy we go nuts with garlic. I use what herbs are on hand either in the garden or what I have dried. I really like to be able to pack a punch with flavour, so use quite robust amounts to impart as much flavour as I can. I also use powdered beef stock as the tomatoes are quite liquid. At the end of cooking and when I’ve decided what I’m going to do with the sauce I can adjust the levels of liquid accordingly. To thicken it you can add tomato paste, but always check on the flavour and the less you add to it the better – again it’s all about choice. The reason I use the crockpot is so that after five minutes of vegetable preparation I can put it in the pot, set it and walk away and it can do its thing while I’m either sleeping or working.
I can then determine what I would like to do with it once it has reached its desired pulpy mixture. At the end of the cooking, remove stalks of herbs, lightly puree down with a blender stick and it is ready to do with what you would like. OPTIONS Soup Puree the tomato mixture, adding more stock to it, according to how you like the thickness of your soup. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt, pepper and for an added pop a small amount of cayenne pepper. Transfer to a pot and place on the stovetop. From here I like to add several handfuls of prepared spinach (silverbeet leaves are great too, though they take longer to cook off in the soup) that will wilt down with the heat of the soup, and a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas, mixed beans or lentils. To serve you can add grated parmesan or cheddar cheese and a dollop of prepared basil or sundried tomato pesto. Perfect served hot alongside toast or warmed bread Pasta Lightly blend the tomato mixture, tasting
and adjusting seasoning with salt and pepper. In a hot pan, add a small amount of olive oil and add gourmet sausages that have been pulled out of their casings. By shaping into small golfball-sized meatballs you have an instant meatball that can be quickly browned off, cooked and added to your tomato. It is always a good idea to use a gourmet or top quality sausage to enhance the flavour of your dish, the good news is though a small amount goes a long way, 4-6 average sausages will feed a family of four well. With the pasta, cook off according to the packet instructions while you’re cooking the meatballs. To me it’s all about making something that is nutritious and filling for the family on those weeknights that you have just walked in from work and you have something ready to work with. The trick is to be prepared and then it’s just a matter of putting it all together at the last moment. Any leftovers can be easily frozen down and added to mince or your next meal. These are just an idea for you to think about and play around using your imagination and what you have on hand … the possibilities are up to you.
Ashburton Guardian, YOU Magazine, Saturday, March 14, 2015