Pomodorini confit (slow cooked cherry tomatoes)

These pomodorini confit, the slow cooked cherry tomatoes are used to accompany pasta dishes or to garnish many main courses. They can be offered also as an appetiser or a side dish or in panini or on bruschetta. You can also store them in the fridge in a glass jar, totally covered with extra virgin olive oil for about 2 weeks. Pomodorini confit are deliciously caramelized cherry tomatoes. The secret is to evaporate the water out of the tomatoes, without making them too dry. So you need to cook them at low temperature for 2 hrs.

prep time 10 min    cook time 90-120 min
ingredients for 1 normal size oven tray
  • 1 kg cherry tomatoes, or date or piccadilly or any kind of baby tomatoes as ripe as possible
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  • fresh herbs like thyme, marjoram
  • oregano fresh or dried
  • 2-3 garlic cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (280°F). Set baking rack to middle position.

2. Wash the tomatoes,  pat dry and cut in half.

3. Place them cut side up onto a large baking tray, on top of parchment paper.

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, the herbs and a little bit of sugar on top of each one. Add the garlic cloves here and there, no need to peel them.

5. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven. (don’t mind the glass jars underneath the tray, I was sterilising them)

6. Bake for 2 hrs. The time depends on your oven and the size of the tomatoes.

This is after 90 minutes in my oven.

This is how they look after 2 hrs in the oven. NOW they are ready.


Penne pasta with asparagus and sausage

Delicate asparagus and strong savoury sausage is a perfect match. I recommend using Italian sausage but you may substitute it with turkey sausage ( I know, not the same thing). The dish is creamy without adding any cream. Yummy and healthy!

prep time 10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4
  • 400 g penne rigate (or rigatoni, farfalle, fusilli, tortiglioni)
  • 500 g asparagus
  • 300 g sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • half a glass of white wine
  • 3-4 basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1. Separate the top part (head) of the asparagus from the stem (approximately 5 cm or 2 inches) and chop the stems discarding the hard white ends.

    2. Heat a few Tbls of oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the crumbled sausage to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

3. Add the asparagus heads to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove.

    4. Add a little bit of oil and pour the chopped asparagus stems to the pan. Add a glass of boiling water and cook the asparagus for 10 minutes. In the meantime start cooking your pasta.
    5. Blend the cooked asparagus until creamy adding a dash of salt and pepper, 1-2 Tbls of oil and the basil leaves.
    6. Tip the sausages and asparagus heads, setting aside 8-10 of them, in the pan, add the cooked pasta al dente, swirl and add the cream little by little at the end. I added it carefully to the plate. Otherwise it becomes all mixed and mushy.
    7. Plate and place 2-3 heads on top.

Cherry cake

This fluffy cherry cake is delicious. When in season look for  cherries that are bright dark red, shiny, plump, and quite firm and make sure there is no browning around the stems. Once we have the cherries, we need to remove the pits which is a tedious job but so worth it. Other than pitting the cherries, there’s nothing complicated in making this cake.

prep time 20 min     cook time 45-55 min

  • 450 g cherries, pitted
  • 110 g flour
  • 70 g potato starch flour ( or corn starch)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g sugar + 2 Tbls
  • 80 g butter, melted or 75 ml oil (peanut, sunflower)
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Tbls vanilla extract
  • 8 g baking powder
    1. Rinse, dry and pit the cherries and cut them in half.
    2. Pre heat oven to 180C.
    3. Butter and flour lightly a spring form pan, mine was 22cm,  and sprinkle 2 Tbls of sugar on the bottom and cover it with cherry halves.

    This is how it was explained in the original recipe and I followed it to a t. The end result was this, but I didn’t like it so I flipped the cake 🙂

4. Mix together the flour, potato starch and baking powder.

5. In another bowl beat the eggs, sugar, orange zest and vanilla until thick and light coloured. Pour the melted, cool butter beating with the mixer. Add the dry ingredients and beat lightly just so they are mixed.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan on top of the cherries. Add the rest of the cherries on top. Some of them will sink into the batter.

7. Bake for 45-55 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I don’t know about you, put I prefer this to the “bottoms up” version. But hey, the taste is the same.

Tip: A common problem when adding a heavy fruit like cherries to a cake batter is that the fruit tends to sink to the bottom of the pan during baking. While this in no way affects the flavor of the cake, it does not allow us to appreciate the cherry’s full beauty. One way to avoid the sinking is to add the cherries on top of the batter like in this recipe, or mix a part of them in the batter and add the rest after the cake has baked about 15 minutes.


Easy cheesy roasted asparagus

Asparagus is in season now so we eat it a lot. Usually boiled and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice, but I wanted to try a new recipe. It was a hit in my house. You don’t need to peel the green asparagus or trim any other part. To remove the woody ends simply line them up and slice 2-3 cm or bend and snap. The choice is yours.

prep time  5-10 min     cook time 15-20 min

  • 500 g asparagus, ends snapped
  • 250 g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 100 g mozzarella or Gruyere cheese
  • 3-4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dried origano
  • handful of olives
    1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Spread the asparagus, evenly, in a single layer on a baking tray and place the cheese on top. Add the tomatoes and oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lastly add the olives and some origano.

3. Pop in the oven at 200c for about 15 min, or until just starting to wrinkle and soften. I like my asparagus have a little bite, but if you prefer them thoroughly cooked, bake a couple of more minutes. The cooking time depends also on the size of the asparagus.