Fresh and quick tomato sauce

Another recipe for tomato sauce. Well, I'm sorry, but there it is. They're not all the same. And while the jammy, concentrated, dark and savoury one I've grown up with is great, sometimes it won't do. It takes too long to cook down, and it tastes too strong for some things. 

This one, on the other hand, is fresh and summery. It tastes of tomatoes. And it is made with tomatoes that come from a tin. I stress this because I just don't understand when recipes insist on "the freshest, ripest heirloom tomatoes". The best use I have for those, provided I can find them, is to slice them and eat them just like that, with a bit of salt and olive oil. Silly food writers.

This is a sauce that you can make in the middle of a blizzard at the top of a mountain, and it takes all of five or six minutes to make, so it's perfect for eating with fresh pasta, or for topping shop bought pizza bases. It keeps for days in the fridge and freezes well. It's a friendly little thing, basically, and good to know.

So. Take your largest non-stick frying pan and put it on the hob with a generous splash of olive oil. Or mix some normal vegetable oil and a bit of good extra virgin. No one will know, except your wallet.
While that heats up, open two tins of whole plum tomatoes (and this is the moment when you'll be glad you bought Spanish or Italian tins, because they are easier to open).
Take out the tomatoes, careful to not spill their juice, and put them in a blender with a good pinch of salt. Blitz. Texture, to your liking; I go for a velvety passata, but chunky is lovely too.
Add oregano to the hot oil, or garlic if you like.
Now add the passata and a sprinkling of sugar and let it bubble away for a few minutes. 

You could let that reduce for as long as you like, of course, but it splatters and sticks and is no fun to look after. A few minutes is enough for me, and it keeps it light and zingy and, yes, I promise, fresh and summery. 


Summer non-cooking

You know that thing where you put off writing a thank you letter and then it's too late to send just a normal letter and it builds up in your mind until you sort of hate the person who did something nice in the first place? Or is that just me? Whatever.

I haven't written in a month, and feel that any old post will not do, but then I don't feel like writing something long, or a proper recipe, and oh, I don't know. The last thing you want is to resent your own blog. Really.

So let's just say it's all due to summer cooking. Because so far, and touch wood, we've had a lot of proper summer days. And that means the lazy kind of cooking. The tomato salad (with cherry tomatoes from Murcia). The steam-grilled asparagus. The bowls of strawberries and yogurt. The walks to the good ice cream shop. The bags of cherries.The picnics on the beach, the grilled sausages, the big salads, the tins of sardines with avocado toast and yes, the gazpacho. No kidding, it got to the point where one afternoon I thought I just had to have a bowl of the stuff.

No news here, but just in case anyone is in a hurry making gazpacho and has no room in the freezer for a quick chill, here's what you do.
Serves two, my children growing up Scottish and therefore shunning anything that might resemble a vitamin:

Take two heaping spoonfuls of cherry tomatoes (around 250 gr) and put them in a blender with a 5 cm chunk of peeled cucumber, a wedge of red pepper if you have it, and if not some tinned/jarred variety. A pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon, squirt of Sherry vinegar and a good, generous pour of olive oil. No garlic for me but go right ahead.
Now blend until creamy. Normally you'd add water, but wait. Simply sieve this to get rid of the tomato skins and seeds.
And now for the cunning plan: leave it in a bowl on the counter and instead of water add ice cubes. In an hour or so it will be far chillier
than if you had left it in the fridge, and your butter will not smell like gazpacho.
Stir, taste for salt and vinegar, and there you go.
If you need an extra boost to deal with children on school holiday, add a shot of vodka for a Gazpacho Molotov.

The image is for a T-shirt coming soon to a store quite far from you, probably, but that you should certainly visit.