Usually the most delicious dishes are very simple, based on just a few ingredients. What makes the food exceptionally good?
I grew up in a small village. Spring and summer were my favourite months, an abundance of ripening vegetables and fruits in my parents’ garden was something all of us had been waiting for during the winter. I can see my mum in the kitchen, cooking dinner for us all, and, many times, she’d ask me to go to the garden and bring some carrots, dill, onion or something else she currently needed. Isn’t that beautiful? Fresh, homegrown veg, how much I miss you!
The very first time I started appreciating the vegetables back at home, was when I moved away from home, to the city. The quality of vegetables available in supermarkets, compared to my mum’s veg, was just, well, sad. No flavour, no crispiness. To be honest, I used to hate gardening and vegetable growing when I was a child. I’d much rather wash my dad’s car than help around with gardening. It was only when I moved away from home, I understood why would people put so much effort in growing their own vegetables, if they are available all year round in supermarkets. I finally got that.
If the vegetables we buy do not rot away, what does it tell us? Perhaps it’s because are literally packed with pesticides and other nonsense, just to keep them alive for long and looking perfect? My mum’s veg was far from perfect-looking. Carrots and parsnips were covered in soil, onions were half the size of those supermarket ones, cauliflowers weren’t giants. But oh my, did they taste great!
I always try to buy veg and fruit from local markets or farms. If you deprive the vegetables of their natural features: aromatic smell, freshness, not-so-perfect shape, the food you make with them will be also somehow deprived of flavour.
My most recent dream? To have a piece of land where I could grow my own tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, courgettes. Nothing more delicious than food you’ve grown yourself. The hard work really does pay off.
TOMATO AND BASIL BRUSCHETTA
tomatoes, any variety will do, just make sure they are fresh
bunch of fresh basil
1-2 garlic cloves
freshly ground pepper
grated parmesan cheese
HOW TO MAKE?
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
2. Wash and cut the tomatoes into small cubes and place them in a bowl. Wash and cut the basil leaves, add them to the bowl with tomatoes. Finely chop the garlic, add to the bowl with tomatoes. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and salt, add a small splash of olive oil, and mix well together. Set aside, so all the flavours can combine well.
3. Slice the baguette. Place the slices in the oven, for about 3-5 minutes, until they’re slightly browned and crispy.
4. Take them out of the oven, top with the tomato and basil you prepared before, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.