Oven-dried tomatoes are first on the list, as they keep well. I've always wondered why sun-dried tomatoes are so expensive when bought in jars and tubs in the supermarket, as they are incredibly cheap and easy to make at home (and the oven mimicking the heat of the sun doesn't appear to impair the flavour). The 2nd Leon cook book has a lovely recipe, but it involved a long cooking time. Better still was the Riverford Farm Cook Book's recipe: the prep takes 5-10 mins, and the cooking just 45 mins, creating tomatoes that are juicy rather than chewy (preferable, in my opinion).
Attach a gift label to the jar with instructions for storing on one side, and suggestions for use on the other, such as 'Toss in a salad, use in tarts, or mix with pasta'.
These quantities will fill one 1/2 pint Le Parfait jar.
- 4 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 16 tomatoes (I used regular round 'on the vine' tomatoes from the supermarket)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- sea salt
Put the trays in an oven preheated to 150C/Gas 2 and cook for about 45 mins; the tomatoes should look shrunken and slightly coloured when they are done. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
To store, pack the tomatoes into jars and cover completely with good-quality olive oil. Add a sprig of thyme and some thinly sliced garlic to the jars if you like. They will keep for 4-6 months without refrigeration.