The bane of my life as I try rather unsuccessfully to grow them in the kitchen, tomatoes are one of my favourite foods and were one of the main reasons I moved to Rome after university. Tomatoes are one thing but Italian tomatoes are quite another. They are all seemingly imperfectly perfectly imperfect if you know what I mean. That is not even to get on to the subject of the Sicilian tomato, a wondrous creature that is inexplicably delicious. However in most other countries, the tomato is also one of the most difficult to find in a natural state. Everything on sale in cities now is in a weird state of perfection, shiny, polished, not so much as a blemish in sight. They also remain in this perfect state for an unnaturally long period. Makes you wonder how they do it….
Anyway. That’s it. Today we give it up for the humble tomato – so many forms, so many recipes. Cherry, heirloom, beef, roma…. Even tomato ketchup has its benefits in the shape of the lycopenes and antioxidants that are the result of cooking and processing fresh tomatoes. Just watch out for the other additives. Also, you would also need to eat a whole bottle of ketchup a day to actually reap these benefits so perhaps a few fresh tomatoes is the better option:)

Quick bruschetta la Romana

A good starter or finger food for when large numbers of people invade.


10 (depends on numbers) large ripe tomatoes (roma or plum are good) at room temperature
handful of fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
a teaspoon of sea salt
6-7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 loaf of yesterdays bread (chunky country bread that will make broad slices not baguette or anything finely sliced – this is rough stuff!)


Roughly chop the tomatoes on a board that will allow you to keep the juices, throw all the tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush the garlic and add this with the salt, the olive oil and the basil to the tomatoes. Mix it all and allow to sit while you slice the bread into thick slices and toast or grill on both sides.

You can rub the grilled slices of bread with garlic at this point or just allow the garlicky tomato mixture to work its magic!

Serve at room temperature sprinkled with fresh basil. Either serve already spread on the toast or allow guests to spoon it over the bread themselves.

Tip: never refridgerate tomatoes! They lose their taste.