Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes

Time saver: if you’re going to eat tomatoes, eat them like this…

Balsamic Roasted TomatoesThese tomatoes have an intense flavour and are great as part of an antipasto platter or in a salad. Mum taught me how to make these. I’m not sure if she got them off a recipe or made it up herself, but I’ve come up with the measurements below and they seem to work.

Note that you can use all sorts of different tomatoes when making these, you may need to adjust the cooking time down if using really small tomatoes, but the basic principle will be the same.

Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes

  • 500g fresh ripe tomatoes (about 4 medium-large ones) or 300g smaller tomatoes
  • 1-2 cloves finely chopped/1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 200°C.
  2. Cut tomatoes into segments. If large, cut into sixths or eighths, if smaller, cut into halves or quarters.
  3. Arrange tomatoes skin down (cut sides up) in a small roasting pan (optionally lined with baking paper).
  4. Distribute the garlic evenly among the tomatoes, dropping a little bit onto each one with a teaspoon. Be sure to get some on every piece of tomato.
  5. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  6. Lay sprigs of thyme across the tops of the tomatoes, again, ensure that all tomatoes come into contact with the thyme. Alternatively, if using dried thyme, sprinkle evenly over the tomatoes.
  7. Gently drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes, then do the same with the balsamic vinegar.
  8. Place tomatoes in the oven, and cook for 60 minutes. Check at 10 minute intervals after cooking for 40 minutes. When ready the tomatoes will have reduced in size, and be starting to brown around the edges. (If you keep cooking past this point they’ll get smaller and crispier – they’re still surprisingly tasty even when well-charred…)
  9. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then remove the sprigs of thyme from the top, transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish and serve.

Balsamic Tomatoes Ready For Oven

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Garlic chilli prawns

Time saver: prawns are so hot right now.

Garlic Chilli PrawnsWhen we last visited Waiheke my aunt made us these delicous prawns for lunch. (Along with a bunch of other stuff, we were spoiled.) I asked her how she’d made them and I’ve been copying her ever since. I didn’t get an exact recipe, but the ingredients and method are hers (just not sure about quantities).

Raw prawns work best, but if you can’t get them/find them then you can get away with pre-cooked ones. I take the easy option and use shelled, de-veined prawn cutlets. If you want to do all the hard work yourself you can buy whole prawns. Just be sure to remove everything but the tail, and don’t forget to slice down the middles of the backs to remove the vein.

Chilli flakes don’t have the same heat as fresh chillies, but you can alter the quantity according to your tastes. Bought ones are fine, but I made my chilli flakes from home-grown chillies. Just cut chillies in half and de-seed, then dry them out either in a low oven (over an hour or two) or in a hot-water cupboard (over a week or two). Then pulverise in a blender to get appropriately sized flakes. (If you’ve got a proliferation of chillies this is a good way to use them up – it takes a lot of fresh chillies to get even a small quantity of chilli flakes.)

Feel free to alter the quantities to suit – the recipe scales well. Besides lunches you can also serve these as a tapas style appetiser.

Garlic Chilli Prawns – serves 2 (for lunch)

  • 250g shelled, de-veined prawns
  • 1/2 tsp or 1 clove crushed/finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Heat frying pan on high heat.
  2. Add oil, and heat briefly, then add garlic, stir and cook for a few seconds.
  3. Add prawns to the frying pan and sprinkle chilli flakes over, then cook, stirring frequently.
  4. Cook for around 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat. (Raw prawns will change colour, with the tails going red. Cooked prawns will already be red – in that case you just need to heat them through, but they’ll probably still take 2 minutes or so to do that.)
  5. Season with salt, then serve with lemon wedges and bread.