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A bumper harvest of fresh wonky tomatoes



2020 has been most challenging and difficult for many of us, but one good thing it has given our garden is a bumper harvest of tomatoes! Rather ironically, unless you really only want the perfect shaped, size and tasting tomato they don’t mind challenging circumstances too much – such as wet and then hot, like this year. Hence, we have had an unusually large amount of those gorgeous, resolute, albeit rather skew-whiff beauts in big pots on the patio.


I love tomatoes, and eat them every day, usually for breakfast. I know that may sound weird but I have never enjoyed traditional breakfast dishes, preferring something unusual or different for that first meal of the day. My mother likes nothing better than a crusty ham and stilton roll with a pickled gherkin for breakfast – maybe that’s where I got it from?


So, it is good that this idea of ‘Spanish Tomato Chickpeas’ with the colours of the Spanish flag needs lots of tomatoes – and, as per Star Trek, if you happen to be a fan too, ‘their colour, shape or size makes no difference’. It still makes for a great tasty wholesome meal in itself (and yes, I have had it cold for breakfast on a slice of toast!). It is also a great base to make a myriad of other dishes.


To serve 3-4 portions - fry a chopped onion, 2 stalks of chopped celery and a sliced pepper until soft. Add a couple of chopped garlic cloves and a good pinch of mixed spice. Then about 750g of chopped fresh tomatoes. Allow to gently bubble away for about 15 minutes until it thickens and reduces. Now add a couple of tins of drained chickpeas and a good handful of chopped chorizos, or more if you like – simmer for a little longer. Season to taste and as I have said a thousand times – add a generous pinch of brown sugar to bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.


Simply serve with chunks of crusty bread and devour.


Now what else to do with this basic tomato and bean base…


You could make it vegetarian by omitting the chorizo and perhaps substitute with a good teaspoon of smoked paprika. Or add a bag of spinach, watercress or rocket at the last minute to wilt in the heat.

(This was very popular in our veggie restaurant).


Or call it ‘Greek Tomato Beans’ – griddle slices of haloumi cheese, aubergines or courgettes and place on top of the bubbling tomatoey beans. Delish.

If you like your beans to have a little kick add a good pinch of chilli flakes or more garlic.

You can also mix and match the herbs –bay leaves, basil or dill go well with tomatoes.


You don’t have to use chickpeas, try butterbeans or a tin of each. Or any beans you fancy or have in the cupboard or add any veggies that need using up in the fridge or from the garden.


If you have some leftover, and don’t fancy it for breakfast(!) then use it as a base to make a spag bol of sorts – just fry some mince and add it to the tomatoey beans. Serve with pasta or my favourite – in warm pitta breads with shaves of parmesan. mmmmm.


Enjoy!


Sue Merrow Savouries

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