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You Say Tomato, I Say Tomarto! Plus… Caprese Salad

A good Caprese salad is a culinary endpoint! It’s a dish that’s perfectly balanced and downright delicious, to improve upon it by changing its basic form or structure is simply impossible.

I think it’s happening! That weird thing that clicks into gear when we reach a certain age, (HA… only people who reach a certain age, say things like… ‘reach a certain age’). Anyho… you know when you’re no longer happiest dashing about with friends, off to foodie happenings, spending hours getting ready for a big event or even planning your next travel destination? Nope, you want more out of life, you want your house to be a home, and no home is complete without…. wait for it – home grown tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes or this household’s favourite, the heirloom tomato.

It came on slowly and started innocently enough, it sounded fun to dabble a little, indulge in the odd daydream about it and plan out a space to keep it even, just simple fun! Then BOOM…, before I knew it, suddenly, and without any warning at all, I find I’ve crossed the line and am hooked; and there ain’t no going back! This my friends… is exactly what has happened to me. One day I was actively and very enthusiastically excusing myself from trips to Bunnings hardware store, and the next I had written a list and was making sometimes daily trips for supplies or ideas. Oh, you might have a laugh at that – but friends, this could be serious!

It’s official, this little shenANNAgator has been bitten with the DIY and gardening bug, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to leave me anytime soon. At first I excused myself because we needed to fix the front garden because ol mate Cyclone Debbie smashed everything to pieces, but nope… it doesn’t seem to be the case.

3 months on from that life changing storm, my little tubs of fruit ‘n vegies are the first thing to greet me when I get home from work each day, and I have now crossed the line completely by sharing regular updates on my socials about just how big and beautiful my babies have grown! Here in  tropical North Queensland, our wintertime is like a perfectly delicious summer in the southern states of Australia, we get to grow tomatoes and basil in wintertime. I know, it’s freakishly back the front. Up until now, I’ve been simply adding a splash of water and admiring my beauties, but now, it’s pickin’ time and better than that – it’s eatin’ time!

I love you from my head tomatoes!

Could there be anything more perfect than a freshly picked ripe tomato, still warm from the sun? I have caught myself heading out to the garden with the salt grinder in hand, as nothing beats a gorgeously ripe tomato on it’s own with a sprinkling of salt I’ve found. Before I knew it, the whole crops seemed to ripen at once and even if I pulled up a chair and made tomatoes my main meal each day, I couldn’t quite eat them all. So it’s time to wheel out the Chef within and plan a few of my fave tomato dishes me thinks.

An oldie but a goldie, the Caprese salad. You will need to pick the best damn tomatoes straight from your vine (or greengrocer if you don’t grow them), mozzarella, and basil, put ’em on a plate, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, drizzle them with the best olive oil, and stop right there. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and step away from the balsamic vinegar. Serve it. Admire its perfection. Sip your wine with the knowledge that you’ve participated in something beautiful.

Tell me dear reader, how’s your winter garden growing? Are you working on any DIY projects at the minute? And what fabulous tomato dishes do you suggest I make? 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  0 minutes

  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 4 bocconcini, sliced
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  1. Slice each tomato from top to bottom into 1cm thick slices. Place on a serving plate and top with the bocconcini and basil leaves.
  2. Just before serving, drizzle the salad with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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