Category Archives: Tomato


300 Gram Burger Pattie Stacks

There is over 300g of meat pattie in each stack and they can be cut in two and pinned with a bamboo skewer.

Serves 4-6 with sides

Pattie Mix

300g each of lamb and beef mince
2 slices streaky bacon, diced fine (dry cured is the best)
½ brown or red onion, chopped finely
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ cup grated carrot
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
100g (4oz) sharp or taste cheese of choice, finely
2 -3 tbsp olive oil


1 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp each dried rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp dried chillies flakes (optional)
150g smoked or tasty cheese, grated

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently. I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all distributed evenly.
Lightly oil the palms of your hands, and shape the mixture into one large ball.

Turn out onto a chopping board and cut and weigh into 4 balls. Two x 200g each and 2 x 100g each. Shape into patties, cover and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

In a pot heat the oil on the stove on medium and add the onion. Cook the onion for 5-10 minutes until they are soft. Add the garlic and dried chillies and cook stirring for another 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the tomato, paste herbs and stock. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce can be made ahead and stored, sealed in the fridge for a couple of days until needed.

Pre-heat bbq or oven grill to medium-hot and cook the patties for 6-7 minutes on each side. Remove from heat when done and rest for 5 minutes. (Smoker cooking directions below)

Preheat oven to 180C. In an oven proof dish or skillet place a smaller pattie on top of a larger one. Put 2-3 tbsp’s of the sauce over each stack and top with a smoked or tasty cheese. Bake in the oven to finish for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with desired sides. Slaw is a great choice.

Cooking using a smoker

Get your pit going and heat to 230 Deg F. Add patties to the smoker on a tray and cook for 60-75 minutes or until the internal temp reached 160 Deg F.

Make the stacks and top with the cheese, return and cook until the cheese has melted.

Plate and top with sauce. I use a mix of apple and oak wood compressed logs from Commodities NZ for flavour.
Eezilite firelog apple or oak 10kg compressed smoking logs.

Meatball and Egg Tagine



500g (1.1lb) ground beef or lamb (mince),or combination

1/2 onion, grated

2 garlic cloves, grated

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp hot paprika

1/4 cup parsley, finely minced

1/4 cup cilantro, finely minced

salt and pepper to taste 


Olive oil or ghee for pan

1 onion, thinly sliced or chopped

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp hot paprika

3 tbsp chopped parsley

3 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)

4 eggs 


In a medium bowl, combine ground mince meat, grated onion, garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, hot paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, and cilantro. Use your hands to roll the mixture into 20mm (3/4 inch) round meatballs. 

Drizzle olive oil or ghee over bottom of tagine or deep skillet with tight fitting lid over medium heat. A diffuser is needed for clay tagines. 

Add the sliced onion and cook until soft. Sprinkle with the minced garlic and place meatballs in a mostly single layer over onions. Cook, gently stirring occasionally, until brown on sides. 

Pour in enough tomatoes to mostly cover the meatballs. Add the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, hot paprika, and gently stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 30 minutes. 

Remove cover, crack eggs into separate areas among the meatballs, and sprinkle with parsley, coriander (cilantro), salt, and pepper. Cover again and cook until eggs are barely set, 7-10 minutes.

Venison Meatballs With Cheesy Bites

cheese-meatballsI love to use venison mince as it takes on the flavours of the herbs, especially the garlic and rosemary. I use the lovely mince from Duncan Venison 

This recipe is the same base as I use for my paddies which is another old time favourite for me. People love to come for dinner when I am cooking either of these. They are basic to prepare but taste so good. 

I also make these as a starter and they are usually the first to go. 


500g (1.1lb) venison mince
½ onion chopped finely
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup GF bread crumbs
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp grated carrot
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 -3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
200g (1/2lb) mozzarella, the dryer the better, diced into small chunks 


1 400g (12oz) can diced Italian tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup stock (broth)
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to season 


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently.  I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all mixed evenly.    

Lightly oil the palms of the hands, and shape into medium sized, 2.5cm (1in)  meatballs.  Push back any mozzarella pieces that poke through the meat – they can  melt and burn. 

Heat a medium sized frying pan large enough to hold the meatballs.  If this is not available, work in batches.  Sauté meatballs over medium-high heat, turning as you cook, to brown all sides.  When browned, lower heat and cook, covered, for ten minutes turning frequently.  


In a pot over a medium-high heat combine all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce be half. Once reduced pour over the meat balls and combine to coat the meat all over. 

Serve the meatballs with sauce poured over with tooth picks.

Fast and Easy Monk Fish Stew

fish-stew-webAny firm fish will do for the warming, light stew. I use Monk fish as its keeps its firmness and shape when cooked. 

This recipe is also quick to plate and great when you are time limited. 


1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

400g (12oz) tin chopped Italian tomatoes

1 red pepper, cut into chunks

450g (1lb) Monk or other firm white fish fillets, cut into chunks

1/3 cup coriander, roughly chopped

lemon or lime wedges 


Heat the oil in medium-sized saucepan and add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cook for 1 minute. 

Add ½ cup water and the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. 

Add the pepper and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the fish. Simmer for a further 5-8. Don’t be tempted to stir it too much or you’ll break up your fish chunks. 

Season well and serve with the coriander and lemon or lime slices.

Fresh Fish Curry

curry-tomato-fish-webI use a firm fish like Monk fish to make this easy curry. It’s a great starter or a main. 


500g (1.1lb) firm fish steaks, I love to use Monk fish
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2-3/4 tsp chili powder (to taste)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup water
1 – 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
chopped chives to garnish 


Cut the fish into large pieces and pat dry.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and on low heat, add the onion, garlic and coriander stirring until the onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cumin, turmeric and chilli powder and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt, garam masala and water. Combine well and simmer until the tomato and rest of the ingredients have blended, 3-4 minutes and add the lemon juice.

Place fish into the sauce and carefully simmer for about 3-4 minutes, taking care not to break the fish up. Take off the heat and stir

Serve with rice and accompaniments. For low carb diet exclude rice

Juicy Cheery Tomato Bites

Classic-Tomato-webI have mentioned many times before that Italian and Sicilian food is based in simple flavours that work well together and don’t need any complication with unnecessary additions just to bulk dishes as we see in so many western countries. 

This side is a classic that has not changed in generations and can be made in a few minutes. Resting in the fridge will allow this wonderful tomato dish develop its full depth of flavour. 

There are two main flavour tastes that I cover in this recipe. 

As a side for 4-6 


600g (20oz) Cheery tomatoes

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalks

1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

Balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Olive oil to drizzle

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 


Slice the cheery tomatoes in half and place them in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the tomatoes with fresh thyme leaves and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Mix together, cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour for added flavour. 

Pre-heat oven to 200 C (400 F). 

On a lined flat baking tray place the tomatoes flesh side up. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 5-8 minutes to soften them. Do not over cook. 

Remove from the oven and place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the diced basil leaves. Serve warm or cool.

Fresh Basil Parsley Garlic Pesto


2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, packed

1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 


Combine the basil and parsley in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic and cheese and pulse a few times more. 

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Classic Tomato Basil and Balsamic Salad

Tomato-Basil-Salad-2This is a salad that is a real “fall back” for me.

I have been making it for years and will do till the day I move onto my next life. Its so simple to bring together and the flavours are exquisite when you are using local, seasonal fresh produce from your garden or Farmers Market .

I serve it as a side with Antipasto or as a snack with crumbed bacon as a topping with some avocado slices.

Serves 2 as a side


400g (12oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large spring onion, quartered lengthwise and diced fine (1/2 red onion is also good)
1 tbsp fresh basil, dhopped fine
1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp of good balsamic vinegar 
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season


In a small bowl add all the ingredients except the balsamic. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic and mix together.

Cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Stir through and rest for another 2-3 hours.

Serve when required at room temperature 

Sicilian Cod Stew

Sicilian-Cod-Stew-webI love this dish as there are several layers of flavour and is a wonderful starter for 4 or a main for 2 

Serves 4 as a starter 


1 large cod fillet, cut into large pieces
1 small onion, cut in to thin slices
3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and diced 
olive or coconut oil
1/2 cup white wine 
2 large tomatoes (cut in chunks or 6 strawberry tomatoes halved)
2-3 cups tomato passata (tomato puree)
1 cup black olives, drained and minced

1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
salt and fresh ground black pepper


In a large pot, add a nice layer of oil to the bottom and heat on medium. Add onions and garlic and cook gently until soft (about 6-8 mins.) Add the white wine and continue to cook down for about 10 mins.

Place the Fish pieces in a single layer on top of the onions. Sprinkle in the minced Olives.

Add the tomatoes, chilli, parsley, basil and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the Tomato Passata. Increase heat just till it starts to simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for about 30 minutes.  Now and then, gently stir a bit and move fish around to cook evenly. 

To serve remove fish to a warm plate. Ladle the sauce into warmed bowls then top with fish pieces.

Spicy Green Bean and Salad

Spicy-Green-Bean-Salad-with-FetaServes 4


400 g (1 lb) fresh green beans, strings removed, ends snapped or cut off

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp lime juice or white vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 cup packed, chopped coriander

1/3 cup bottled, pickled jalapeno chilli peppers, sliced

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 avocado, sliced or cut into 25 mm long pieces

1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges, or a cup of halved cherry tomatoes


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until just crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. Drain completely. 

Place beans in a large bowl. Gently mix in the lime juice or vinegar, olive oil, 1/4 cup onion, sliced pickled jalapenos, sea salt, oregano and coriander (cilantro). Let sit for half an hour.

When ready to serve, gently mix in the chopped red onion and cheese.  Serve the avocado slices and tomato wedges on the side or mixed into the salad.