Tomato, Balsamic & Black Garlic Ketchup

I hate to throw away food and I will always try to find a way of using up something that may be past it’s best.  I don’t store tomatoes in the fridge (nor eggs for that matter) as there is nothing worse that eating cold tomatoes – the temperature of the fridge seriously affects the flavour.  Tomatoes stored at room temperature retain their sweetness and are much more pleasurable to eat.

That said, I had some cherry tomatoes that were quite soft and some were beginning to pucker. I decided they would be perfect to make a sauce or a ketchup.  My recipe is some way between the two – more ketchup, I think.

Recipe:
150 g overripe cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (the aged type that is thick and syrupy and also quite expensive!)
Pinch Sugar
Sprinkling of salt
1 teaspoon of Black Garlic Ketchup

Cut the tomatoes in half (this will help to break them down) and put in small pan with the oil, vinegar, salt and sugar.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer until it reaches a thick syrupy consistency.

Take off the heat and blitz with a hand blender until smooth.  If, by this stage you feel the consistency is not quite thick enough, you can return it to the pan and reduce it a little more.  Once you’re happy with the consistency, add the black garlic ketchup and store in a heat treated jar.

To find more of my recipes, please visit http://ritacooksfood.com

Planning a Drinks Party

With Christmas not so far away, you might be thinking of planning a drinks or cocktail party for friends, business colleagues or family? Cocktail parties are great for entertaining friends or business associates, or a combination of the two. They’re also great for open houses or receptions, both business and personal.

Drinks parties can be a simple affair, or something more complex. Some of the things to consider are:
– it is going to be a casual affair, or something more formal?
– how many guests are you planning to invite?
– the drinks: a wine only party, or cocktails served by a professional bartender? What about interesting non-alcoholic drinks for those abstaining? A hot or cold punch can also be a winner!
– what kind of food to offer your guests?

Traditionally, simple foods, such as hors d’oeuvres and other finger foods, allow guests to graze and eat sitting, or standing, with a drink already in the hand. Guests can help themselves from a buffet table, or waiting staff can mingle with attractively laid platters, offering tasty morsels, such as:

Aubergine & Tomato Canapes
Parmesan, Goat’s Cheese & Rocket
Parmesan & Poppy Seed Lollipops
Puff Pastry Pizza Bites
Smoked Salmon Blinis
Stilton & Toasted Walnut Balls
Tandoori Chicken Skewers
Tomato & Goat’s Cheese Doughballs
Courgette & Parmesan Crisps
Radishes with Whipped Goat’s Butter & Celery Salt
Fruitcake with Cheese & Apple
Crab, Lime & Chilli Toasts
Cheddar & Marmite Mini Rolls

For your perfect canape bites (freshly made either in your own home or delivered) and help with planning your party, contact me.