Love Apples for Valentines

We can thank the French, as usual, for turning a normally very ordinary word, albeit perhaps unintentionally, into something a little saucier. Whether calling tomatoes “pommes d’amour” (love apples) because of a linguistic slip up or because of its association with the aphrodisiac qualities of the mandrake plant, it certainly holds more interest than the Aztec-inspired word, tomato.

Heart tomatoes

Contrary to popular belief, love apples don’t like fridges. They are warm season fruits, so if you leave them at room temperature their flavour will develop naturally. If you’re in a hurry for one to ripen, a neat trick is to pop it in a covered bowl with an apple. Most people don’t peel tomatoes because it’s not an easy thing to do … or is it? If you drop them into boiling water for a few seconds and then immediately into ice water, their skin will all but fall off. Give it a try!

If you have kids and would like to shuffle them off to bed as quickly as possible this Valentine’s Day, here’s a great recipe you could have ready in 15 minutes.

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Tomato and Basil Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 375g dried spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Cherry tomatoes, fresh from the garden
  • 400g tomato based pasta sauce, flavour of your choice
  • 1 tsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp. shredded fresh basil leaves

Preparation:

  • Cook pasta and drain.
  • Heat the oil in a big, deep frying pan on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so and then add the pasta sauce and sugar. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  • Put the basil, tomatoes, pasta and sauce in a big serving bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Alternatively, if you’re planning a quiet evening at home this Valentine’s Day, why not spoil your loved one with this seductive dish made with this delicious fruit?

Salmon with roasted tomatoes

Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsps. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Olive oil non-stick spray
  • 2 (30g) salmon fillets (about 2.5cm thick)
  • 2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 200°
  • Coat a baking tray with the olive oil non-stick spray.
  • Mix the thyme, olive oil, garlic and spices together and toss the cherry tomatoes in it to coat them.
  • Pour the tomatoes and sauce out onto the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Add the fish to the baking tray and bake for another 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
  • Serve with the tomato mixture poured over the fish and drizzle with the lemon juice.
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