Heritage Tomato Salad with Goats Cheese and Balsamic

Lovely tomatoes that taste of the sun, fragrant basil, cool goats cheese and spiky balsamic – a simple but really good salad for a hot summer’s day.

Heirloom Tomatoes

You can get tomatoes all year round in the supermarket, but most of them have been grown in a poly tunnel and travelled half way around the world and taste of nothing. A tomato that has been grown in sunshine is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated.

These big, juicy, seasonal tomatoes don’t have a long shelf life, so if you are lucky enough to get hold of them, make sure you enjoy them while they are at their best.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

One of the best ways to enjoy them is a simple salad. This one uses very few ingredients as the tomatoes are the star of the show.

You could dress the tomatoes with an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, but simple balsamic vinegar, reduced until thickened, is really good here. Reducing the vinegar, really insensifies the depth and flavour. You could of course, just buy a bottle of ready made balsamic glaze which is the speediest option, but it’s really worth making your own for the best flavour.

Tomatoes and basil

I’ve made a large platter here, which is nice for people to help themselves, but this could easily be scaled down for two people to enjoy.

Ingredients:
Assorted heritage tomatoes – as many as you like, I’ve added a few cherry tomatoes too
Goats cheese – around 100g per person
Fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar – around 3/4 of a cup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
To reduce the balsamic vinegar, place in a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to low and leave for around 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside and then refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Tomato Salad

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on your serving plate, sprinkling a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the slices.

Tear some of the basil leaves and make sure some of the leaves are between the layers, leave some of them whole too.

Heritage Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad

Break up the goats cheese and scatter over the tomatoes, you can remove the rind, or leave on.  I’ve tucked a few crumbles of cheese in between the tomatoes too.

Drizzle over the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

Tomato Goat Cheese Salad Balsamic

This is one of the nicest salads to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.  You can scale up or down, add pita chips if you would like some crunch, or slices of toasted baguette make a nice addition too.

Tomato Goat Cheese Salad

Some very cold white wine would be another nice addition to this salad!

Smoked Salmon Devilled Eggs

I love devilled eggs and eggs with smoked salmon are so good together, I think this might be my new favourite devilled egg recipe.

Smoked salmon devilled eggs2

I’ve added horseradish, cream cheese and dill to my eggs, but Dijon mustard can be used if you don’t like horseradish. If you are using horseradish though, make sure it’s the smooth kind. I bought some a while ago that had big chunks of horseradish in and it wasn’t good at all!

I’ve topped the eggs with a little scroll of smoked salmon, but you could top with capers if that’s your thing. I’m a bit hit and miss with capers, but they do work well with the eggs and salmon.

I think its worth paying a little more for your smoked salmon too. Whenever I have been tempted to buy some ‘cheap’ smoked salmon, I have always been disappointed. A lot of it is slimy, salty and fishy. Really good smoked salmon is a joy to eat.

Devilled eggs are the perfect finger food for a buffet, Easter brunch table or any party.

Smoked salmon devilled eggs1

Ingredients:
12 extra large eggs
75g cream cheese
1tbs mayonnaise
200g smoked salmon – finely chopped, plus a litte extra for garnish
1-2tbs prepared horseradish or Dijon mustard
1tbs lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh dill

Method:
You want the yolks in the middle of the eggs when you halve them. There are a couple of ways to do this – either lay the eggs on their sides a couple of hours before you boil them, or give them a gentle shake. This will centre the yolk, making it easier to scoop it out.

To boil the eggs, I like to place my eggs in cold water, bring them up to the boil, turn off the heat, put the lid on and leave them for 16 minutes. This is for room temperature, extra large eggs. If you use them straight from the fridge, they will take a little longer.

When the eggs are ready, place in iced water, before carefully peeling them.

Slice each egg in half lengthways and scoop the yolks out into a bowl.

Smoked salmon devilled eggs

Mash the yolks with the cream cheese, mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon and black pepper until completely smooth, before mixing with the finely chopped smoked salmon and a little chopped dill. Taste to make sure it’s just right. I haven’t included any salt as I think there is enough, but adjust to personal taste.

Place the filling in a piping bag, fitted with a star tip and pipe the filling into the waiting egg halves.

Garnish with a little snipped dill and top with a scroll of smoked salmon.

Smoked Salmon devilled egg

These are a delicious alternative to chocolate eggs for Easter!

Caprese Skewers

For the perfect party food, these skewers are easy to make and serve.  A portable salad on a stick that is not only colourful, but delicious to eat too.

Caprese skewers4

This is not really a recipe – it’s more of an assembly job – tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, a little seasoning and drizzled with a sweet balsamic glaze.

Caprese skewers1

I used a ready made balsamic glaze for this that clings to the salad perfectly, but you don’t need to buy it.  For a balsamic reduction, just boil a cup of balsamic vinegar until it has reduced by half.  It will become thicker, a little sticky and coat the back of a spoon.

Caprese skewers

Ingredients:
Small tomatoes – I’ve used a mixture of red and yellow cherry tomatoes and jewel tomatoes that I found at the supermarket
Basil leaves – go for the smaller leaves if possible, or you can fold the extra-large ones around the cheese and tomatoes. I got mine from a living plant as the pre-packed bunches tend to have very large leaves.
1-2 containers of small mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
Balsamic glaze
Italian seasoning with chilli
Salt and pepper to taste
Bamboo or metal skewers – I used 18cm bamboo skewers

Method:
Toss the bocconcini with a sprinkle of the Italian seasoning and then simply thread the tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil alternately on the skewers.

Sprinkle over freshly ground black pepper and a little salt if desired and drizzle over the balsamic glaze and serve.

Caprese skewers3

These are so pretty and light for summer entertaining, parties or a barbecue.  Serve with cold white wine, prosecco or a summer punch.