One of the things you should know about me and this blog, is that whenever I’m on a particular deadline, something hard and difficult, I write a blog post. So when people ask me, as they do “how do you find the time to blog?” it’s because I am nearly always avoiding doing something else and that something else is nearly always writing An Actual Piece. All the professional writers I know have vast, varied, and sophisticated procrastination techniques. For me, if it’s not writing on this blog, it’s ironing or cooking or baking.
I turn to a write a blog post when I’m just about to start writing that actual piece. The last bastion of procrastination, when I’ve ironed everything that shows even a weak crease, baked up all the flour in the house into something cakey and menu planned the dinners until Christmas. So in that respect it’s like a warm up: a gentle stretching of a muscle that’s about to be really hammered in the main event. I like to think it serves a useful purpose.
My partner doesn’t quite see it like that. Living with a writer isn’t easy. It’s all “I’m on DEADLINE I’M ON A DEADLINE. DON’T DISTURB ME DON’T TALK TO ME I’M IN MY MENTAL SPACE” and then we faff and fuck about until suddenly, miraculously, the words spill out, via our fingers, onto the screen.
(n/b: the worse thing you can say to a writer is: just get on with it. This is like saying to your male sexual partner: just get an erection.)
Until that moment comes. Here I am talking about tomatoes. This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Every Day. You may have the book. And you may have missed this unassuming, but actually vastly useful recipe. These make a great lunch: on toast, under a poached egg, or in a recipe that I will post next week (when I’m on my next deadline) which is a spin on what is really a very boring salad called tricolore. We try to make these when the oven is already on, and even if you don’t eat them immediately, they keep brilliantly for a few days in the fridge and just take minutes to warm up.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you to augment or reduce the recipe according to your needs.
500g cherry tomatoes (must be cherry toms, save those big bastards for something else)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Halve the tomatoes and place them cut side up. When I do loads, I don’t place every single one cut side up unless I really do want to procrastinate. Choose your tin according to your tomato yield: you want the tomatoes to be close up and personal, not spread far and wide.
Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt, then beat it together with the honey, oil and pepper if using. Because I have thick set honey, I have to melt the honey first as otherwise this just gloops together. Spoon the mixture over the tomatoes and roast for about 30 minutes. I find it frequently needs longer as you want them toms to be goldeny brown, and bubbling. I sometimes finish them off under the grill too.
Eat immediately or keep in the fridge. Note that if you use tomatoes that aren’t that sweet, this will really improve them. However, if you start with really sweet tomatoes already then these are GLORIOUS. They also make a great addition to a full fry up. Now then, I really must get on.