The summer season brings to the kitchen some wonderful produce, including salads, soft fruits, beautiful fresh fish and an abundance of herbs.
We associate summer with the fragrant strawberry but one of the best fruits of the British summertime is the humble tomato.
If you have ever grown your own tomatoes, you will know, there is nothing quite like the smell of this lovely fruit just picked from the plant.
There are loads of varieties from sweet baby plum, tart green and fragrant yellow all to be enjoyed simply in salads or cooked in various ways.
As the season moves on and the tomatoes take on a deeper flavour I like to juice the fruits and turn them into jelly to add to a salad with soft goats cheese and dried baby plum tomatoes.
A few sprigs of lovage and some chopped chives turn the humble fruit into a great summer starter.
Ingredients serves 4
300g ripe tomatoes
4g agar agar
150g cherry plum tomatoes (or 80g ready dried tomatoes)
Few sprigs thyme
150g soft goats’ cheese
Small bunch lovage
Tbsp chopped chives
1. Cut the cherry plum tomatoes in half and lay on a baking tray. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and the thyme leaves. Dry over night on the lowest setting of your oven. Keep stored in an air tight container.
2. Juice the ripe tomatoes using a centrifugal juicer.
3. Take 250ml of the juice and put into a saucepan. Add 4g agar agar and season.
4. Bring the juice to the boil and pour into a small tub. Allow to cool.
5. Pick the lovage leaves and set a few aside for decoration. Liquidise the rest with 20ml of olive oil and a little salt.
6. Whisk 25ml of tomato juice with 10ml of olive oil to make a tomato dressing. Taste and season.
7. Cut the tomato jelly into cubes and arrange them on four plates.
8. Crumble over the goats’ cheese and dot around the tomato dressing and lovage oil.
9. Add the dried tomatoes and sprinkle on the chives to serve.