I work from home a lot, which is generally considered an enviable thing, and it’s true, I do tend to be more relaxed, focused and productive because I can still be in my jammies at midday. I’ve noticed however, that I tend to be pretty bad at self-care on the days that I work from home; I don’t take the breaks that I should, I don’t talk to anyone else, and I don’t get out at go for a walk, even on the sunniest of days. True, I may be able to power out several thousand words a day, but I probably won’t haven been kind to myself whilst doing it. So, I decided to try and do things a bit differently this week, and take a proper lunch break between writing up funding reviews and planning my next projects. A lunch break that would include making and savouring the food, rather than just shoving toast in my mouth and watching the Daily Show. (Global Edition – boo, bring back the Daily Show to the UK!)
I will admit, this act of self-care was aided by the fact that the mister was at home, getting on with some course work and so I was making lunch for him as well; somehow it’s easier to justify self-care if you extend it to others. It’s very unlike me to take my time over the preparation of a meal; it is a luxury that most people are rarely afforded and I’m aware of the privilege I have in being able to do so.
This recipe for Baked Stuffed Tomatoes from Nigel Slater is a good meal if you are in the mood for going slow – there’s a few different steps that require waiting on simmering and cooking, but that’s all worth it for the flavours. Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods, and I feel they are rather overlooked, so it’s good to prepare a meal where they are the main affair. It’s a very comforting meal, it cooks long enough for everything to be soft and warming, and the stuffing of the tomatoes mixes well with the mashed sweet potato. I feel bad for butchering a perfectly good veggie meal with bacon (sorry Nige!) but it did need eating up, and well, it tasted spectacularly good. I love the strong colours in the end result of this meal, bright food always makes me feel cheery and powered up for a good afternoon’s work.
Recipe after the jump.
Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
Source – Nigel Slater
4 Beef Tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
tin of butter-beans
tin of chopped tomatoes
1) Chop the onion, and cook it in a saucepan with olive oil for about ten minutes, until it is translucent and soft. Peel and slice the garlic and add to the onion, and add the bay leaf too. Continue to let cook for another five minutes. Or as Nigel beautifully puts it: ‘until all is fragrant’. (not quite sure about ‘all’, perhaps just the contents of the pan).
2) Slice the tops off the tomatoes and put to one side. Take a small sharp knife and run it around the inside ring of the tomato to loosen the insides. Scoop the insides out with a spoon, although it may need a little more loosening. Put the empty tomato shells to one side. Chop the insides of the tomatoes and add to the onion mixture. Add in the tin of chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and then leave to cook for another 10-15 minutes.
3) Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160 fan.
4) Drain the butter-beans and add them to the tomato mixture. Add in the chopped bacon (if using), the vinegar and the basil leaves. Continue to cook the mixture for another five minutes.
5) Spoon the filling into the tomato shells, place the tomato lids back on and place on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish. If there’s extra filling (and I hope for your sake that there is) spoon this around the tomatoes.
6) Bake for 40 minutes until the tomatoes are well cooked and, as Nigel puts it ‘on the verge of collapse’.
7) Serve with mashed sweet potato and kale.