My earliest memory of tomatoes is of young folk standing on street corners in and around busy intersections in Cape Town, South Africa, selling bags of veg for one rand  (a few cents in USA). My mother would have her money ready and, as children, we would compete to grab and pay for the produce. The tomatoes were red, ripe, and ready to be used. I truly don’t remember the exact varietal, but these tomatoes were pretty ugly and full of flavor.

Two favorite meals stand out in my memory. On Saturday evenings in the summer, we used to barbecue with chicken or steak and always the local South African sausage, boerewors. Boerewors is ‘“farmer’s sausage,” usually made with pork and beef and a variety of spices. My dad would do the sausage to perfection. There was always some left over for the following day, but not enough for an entire meal. To go with any leftover sausage, my mom made the following dish, which we as kids loved. Scraping the pan and eating the little remnants was always a highlight during clean-up. Recipe serves 4.


Mum’s Monday Mash

  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 nice fat tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • A couple of good squirts of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Slices of cooked leftover sausage (any good sausage will work)

Brown onions until medium dark, add diced green pepper, and cook through. Add tomatoes and cook through until they begin to break down nicely. Add your Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. Lastly add the sliced sausage and heat through until nice and thick.

Served with mashed potatoes.


Tomato Bredie (stew)

The second family favorite was a traditional Tomato Bredie (stew). Mom used to keep her  rejected tomatoes for the freezer for winter cooking. This delicious stew is served with rice. Serves 6.

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds of diced beef or lamb
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chopped and peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Brown onions in oil until golden; add meat, garlic, and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding a little water if necessary. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and chili powder, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add potatoes and cook until soft..

Add a little water to the cornstarch, stir, and add to stew. Stir until cooked through. Taste for  seasoning, adding a little more salt if needed.

This dish is better made a day before needed.

Note: This can be done in the slow cooker. First, in a frying pan,  brown the onions and add the meat, garlic, and salt. At the end of the 30 minutes, add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, except cornstarch.  Slow cook for about 4 hours on medium..Thicken with cornstarch as above at the end.  No added water will be necessary  Lovely dish for the fall.


Mary’s Pickled Tomatoes

A couple of years ago,  a friend, Mary Marshall,  shared this recipe on her blog. It has become a firm favorite and I always have a stash on hand for charcuterie boards, or just a fab open sandwich with some strong cheddar, good butter, and a few pickled tomatoes.

  • heirloom cherry and pear tomatoes (about 4 pints)
  • 2 teaspoons dill weed, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, or whole coriander, divided
  • 2 bay leaves, divided
  • 4 whole cloves, divided
  • 12 peppercorns, divided
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced in circle pieces, divided

Brine:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons canning salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Wash and sterilize 4 pint jars.

Wash and prick each tomato twice with a toothpick to prevent splitting.

Divide the dill, cilantro or coriander seeds, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, and peppercorns equally into 4 jars.

Place the tomatoes on top of the herbs and spices until the jar is full. As you layer the tomatoes, stuff equal amounts of the pepper slices in between, filling the gaps that are available.

In a medium pot, over high heat, add water, vinegar, salt, and sugar, bringing brine to a rolling boil. Slowly add the hot brine to the jars, covering the tomatoes, leaving a ¼-inch head space. Add rings and seals and tighten to just finger tight.  (Don’t overtighten.)

Process jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove jars, and gently place on a kitchen  towel on your counter for 24 hours, undisturbed.

The pickles store well for  up to 1 year. When opened, must be refrigerated

Lovely with bread  and cheese. Makes 4 pints.