Isn’t it funny how the simplest of foods can sometimes be the most calming and comforting? I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions the last couple of weeks with the knowledge that my book will be hitting the shelves in a month’s time. I’ve asked my team from Penguin to involve me as much as they possibly can and so, I’m doing a lot of the behind the scenes stuff which I’m enjoying but of course, with extra work comes extra stress. And when I’m stressed, I eat. Not good, wholesome foods…no, I like sugary, carb-loaded foods that make me feel good all of one second and then leaves me yearning for more.
Last week, I decided to put an end to this and got rid of a lot (but not all, of course) the junk in the house and found myself standing in front of the fridge one afternoon not knowing what to eat. I spotted the punnets of beautiful fresh tomatoes on the counter and I was flooded with memories from my teenage years. Hot summer afternoons when all I wanted to do was peel myself out of my white and blue school uniform. Standing in front of the fridge looking for something cool and soothing to eat and taking a big, ripe tomato and the salt shaker and sitting in the sun on my bed eating it as is. Shaking a bit of salt onto every bite.
And now, 10 years later, I wanted to do just that. Except it wasn’t a hot summer day and I wasn’t in a school uniform but I needed that simple comfort. I decided to make this salad and to amp the flavour up wanted to make a pungent basil dressing to toss the tomatoes in. I ate it, not on my bed, but in my garden, enjoying the slight breeze and the scent of the lavender which I have managed to keep alive for more than a few months (I have notoriously UN-green fingers). Absolutely simplicity but nothing would’ve been more delicious in that very moment.
- fresh tomatoes (I used a few punnets of mixed tomatoes from Woolworths)
- handful fresh basil leaves
- ½ t salt
- ¼ clove garlic
- juice of ½ lemon
- a few tablespoons olive oil
- pepper to taste
- Ensure the tomatoes are at room temperature.
- Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl.
- To make the dressing, combine the basil, salt and garlic in a pestle and mortar and pound until you have a relatively smooth paste.
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil.
- Season to taste and drizzle over the tomatoes.
- Toss to coat the tomatoes with the dressing and serve.