Thursday, 21 July 2011

It’s the thought that counts

[Roche you’re not allowed to read this one until after your birthday...]

Disclaimer over:  Let me sally forth with a quick ARGHHHH... I’m stuck slap bang in the middle of Birthday/Wedding season and find myself perilously low in funding... why must you get older and live happily ever after people?  WHY!?

Today was payday and scarily, after rent and bills were deducted it’s only just inched me back to the right side of zero.  Having been stuck on this fine line between debt and credit for months now, you may have noticed I’ve taken the slightly depressing decision that everyone will have homemade presents - EVERYONE!!! OK, fine... not everyone – homemade gifts don’t tend to feature all that highly on wedding gift-lists. 

I may also have to still buy gifts for the soon-to-be nephew. There’s no way I’m risking being relegated to “the un-cool aunt who made me a keychain out of paperclips and rubber bands”... BUT apart from small unborn children and wedding presents: it’s DIY all the way.   Here’s hoping that people are going to see that effort = love... (Naive? Moi?!) 
[I solemnly swear to steer clear of any and all gifts constructed out of office supplies.]

Anyway, with my surfing partner-in-crime’s birthday coming up fast (next Tuesday - after the wedding I’m going to Saturday... DOUBLE ARGHHH) I decided to try and combine two things she loves: tomatoes and goats cheese.  I have found an interesting recipe for a cake with goat’s cheese frosting (more on that in a later post) so decided to try and do something new (for me – obviously I’m 20 years behind the rest of you worldly know-it-alls!) and make her a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.

Sadly my home grown tomatoes are FAR from ready (looks like another autumn of trying to cram green tomatoes into every recipe going – chutney, jam, passata...).  So I ended up using shop bought.  Also with a distinct lack of sun they’re more oven-dried than sun-dried but remember guys (all together now) – IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS!!

Preheat the oven to 220˚C.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half and place them cut side up in an ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and thyme.  Then drizzle with the olive oil.

Place them in the oven and immediately turn it off.  Leave the door closed overnight and (theoretically) in the morning you will have dried tomatoes...

Realistically, (probably my evil oven’s fault) they barely dried at all overnight.  So, if at first you don’t succeed... I tried again before work the next day.  And again that evening and then again over night!  FINALLY, we have liftoff!  I’m guessing that if your oven is well behaved (like all ovens should be) it would be a far quicker process!

For gifting purposes, I've popped them in a sterilized jar and covered them in olive oil.  I may even stretch as far as a big shiny bow...

20 cherry tomatoes
2tsp Maldon salt
¼tsp sugar
1tsp dried thyme
2tbsp olive oil 

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