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Entries in Tomato (5)


Apple & Tomato Panzanella (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, egg free)

Sometimes you ‘discover’ a dish that is a well-known classic and yet somehow, you’ve managed to go through your entire life and not try it.  Until recently, Panzanella was one of those recipes.  I’ve long been aware of it – a Tuscan classic made up of toasted stale bread made into chunky croutons, ripe, sweet tomatoes, fragrant basil, the bite of onion and a generous pouring of excellent olive oil – and what’s not to like.  But for some reason, pre my free-from diet I’d never managed to enjoy one, and since being a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free and yeast free creature, there has never managed to seem the right moment to make what is essentially, a bread salad!

But then lo! Two things happened, one is that I discovered how to make this amazing gluten free, vegan and yeast free bread – which, by the way, makes the most incredible croutons.  Secondly, I was made this variation of panzanella by a friend using the aforementioned bread, and I was completely blown away by both the vibrancy of flavours and the simplicity of the salad.  It really is a handful of things, thrown to together, drowned in dressing and then left to meld – my idea of heaven!  If like me you’ve attempted to grow tomatoes this year then you should find that now is about the time when you have the last and generous flurry from the plants.  Nothing tastes better than a home-grown sweet tomato and this dish is a perfect way of showing them at their best.  Though of course, good tomatoes, on the vine, from the shop will work just as well. 

Here, golden, slightly salty, crisp chunks of bread, sweet and crisp apple (my one addition to the classic), juicy tomatoes, lots of fresh basil and red onion, marinated in lemon juice to take away that bitter bite that it can sometimes leave.  Lots of olive oil, seasoning and there you have new favourite thing, Apple, Tomato and Basil Panzanella.

By the way, I tend to serve this as it is, as a delicious lunch for two – sometimes a few slices of ripe avocado on the side.  But it goes beautifully as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or cooked meats, especially lamb, and will extend to four people if served alongside other bits and pieces.  Try it with my Honey Baked Leg of Lamb (from the book) and some roasted sweet potato for a particularly delicious supper.


Serves 2-4

1 red onion

1 eating apple

500g tomatoes

4 thick slices of day old bread – I use this Chickpea Bread

4 tbsp olive oil

The juice of 1 lemon

A handful of fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 180c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Tear the bread into bite size chunks and scatter over the baking tray.  Pour over half of the olive oil and season generously with sea salt.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Peel the onion and slice into thin half moons.  Place the onions into a bowl and pour over the lemon juice, massage the lemon into the onion slices and then leave to sit for 20 minutes.  This will soften the onion and take away any bitterness it may have.

Core the apple and cut into bite size pieces.  Slice the tomatoes in half or quarters or more depending on their size.  When ready, combine the tomatoes, croutons, onions and lemon juice and basil leaves in a large serving bowl.  Pour over the remaining olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, toss together and leave to rest for 30 minutes (in the fridge or at room temperature) so that the tomato juices can relax into the bread.  Toss gently and then serve.




Curried Chickpea Burgers (Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

Let’s pretend, just for a second, that summer is here and that our evening’s are spent sitting in the garden in the balmy-haze-end of a hot day, drinking something cool and eating a multi-coloured, crisp, textured, vibrant salad and a selection of lightly grilled meats and vegetables studded with garlic and flecked with herbs from the garden, new potatoes, freshly dug from the earth, steam gently under a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh mint.  Our weekends are filled with trips to the beach, picnics packed – light crisp tarts, quinoa salads, cold chicken and cucumber ribbons -, laden with cool drinks – homemade ginger lemonade and raspberry cream soda - and lush, ripe fruit to refresh us, we end the day with a sparkling sun downer and a meal fit for a king cooked on a barbeque and brimming with flavour and spice – spatchcock chicken with mango and lime marinade, lamb kebabs with preserved lemon salsa, curried chickpea burgers with fresh tomato salad -, all in celebration of the exotic that the warm weather allows us to conjure.  Let’s just pretend. 

I can’t really give you any of that, except, of course, for the recipes.  We may not be having the kind of summer that halcyon days are made of but we’re British, so we’ll crack on regardless.  I’d like to think that these Curried Chickpea Burgers go some way in bridging the summer rainy day conundrum.  Packed full of nutrient rich quinoa and chopped chickpeas, made creamy by softened carrots and onion and richly flavoured with curry paste, you can cook them on the stove or on the barbeque.  They make a good base for a summery supper; you can even wrap them in iceberg lettuce leaves to form a burger in a bun (as seen here).  They freeze well and you don’t need to worry about defrosting them, you can simply fry them gently from frozen until cooked through, making them handy little things.  I have chosen to use cooked quinoa to bind though you could use cooked rice instead, though be warned, it will make the burgers a lot denser.  I’ve also used a curry paste to flavour, which I realise some will consider lazy but I rather like some of the pre-made blends out there, I tend to lean towards the mild to medium spectrum, but as these are your burgers, choose whatever suits your tastes.


Makes 8 burgers

175g cooked quinoa

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 carrots

1 white onion

1 tbsp curry paste of your choice, just ensure it is gluten and dairy free

3 tbsp gram flour

3 tbsp olive oil

Begin by peeling the onion and carrots and then finely grating, either by hand or using a food processor.  Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan and then gently fry the onion and carrots until softened – approximately 10 minutes. 

Place the chickpeas and cooked quinoa into a large mixing bowl and crush together with a fork until you have a coarse, lightly-bound paste.  Add the softened onion, carrot and curry paste, season with a little sea salt and black pepper and mash together with a fork until bound together.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 8 burger patties and then coat each burger in gram flour, using as much or as little flour as you need to generously coat the burgers.

Heat the remaining oil in the large frying pan over a medium flame, add the burgers to the pan and fry the burgers on both sides until golden, slightly crisp and heated through.

While the cakes are frying dice the tomatoes, avocado and coriander.  Mix together in a small bowl with the lemon juice and season to taste.  Serve the burgers with a little pile of tomato salad on top and whatever accompaniments you like – roasted sweet potato wedges and a big green salad go very well, FYI.