Seasonal Kitchen

Savouring Summer

Holly is making hay while the sun still shines with these recipes that capture the best of the season’s tomato crop.

Holly is making hay while the sun still shines with these recipes that capture the best of the season’s tomato crop.

As we celebrate these final long days before the clocks turn back, I’m enjoying the harvest of abundant tomatoes and sweet and fragrant stonefruit. I overplanted last spring to ensure we had more tomatoes than my daughter can eat in her favourite spot under the lemon tree. Tomatoes, fresh peas, mint, corn, and coriander are usually in the pile on her lap.

With the kids being just that little bit older now it’s wonderful to see them take to gardening. I grew potatoes in old coffee sacks this year against the fence and had a bumper crop and have been pleasantly surprised to have many vegetables self-seed and fill the gaps around the garden.

As I wait for the last of my summer beans, we are back in seed-saving mode, holding on to our favourite varieties, and planting up the next seasons’ crops.

This edition we hero the humble tomato with tarts, smokey marinated tomatoes that are so versatile, and a tomato, grilled nectarine, and burrata salad.

Tomato Gruyère Tart
These tempting tarts are made from flaky pastry with a rich Gruyère filling topped with jewels of roasted tomatoes and brushed with basil and garlic. They can be made in canapé, individual or family size.
Makes 6 individual-sized tarts

Quick puff pastry
250g high-grade flour
½ tsp salt
250g salted butter, at room temperature but still firm
Approximately 100ml cold water

Gruyère filling

25g salted butter
25g flour
1 cup warm milk
100g grated Gruyère cheese
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Tomato topping

2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed

For the pastry, place the flour and salt in a bowl and grate in the butter. Knead, then add in approximately two-thirds of the water. Knead again, adding more water if needed until the mixture comes together. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for half an hour in the fridge.

Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll out into a large rectangle about 1cm thick. Fold the dough into thirds, turn 90 degrees, roll out again, repeating the process three times. You should still see streaks of butter in the dough.

Cover and chill the dough again until ready to use.

For the Gruyère filling, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir quickly, allowing the mixture to foam and slightly caramelise. Add the milk and whisk to combine until it forms a thick béchamel-style sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the flour has cooked out.

Add the cheese, stir through the dijon mustard, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan bake.

On a floured bench, roll the dough to ½ cm thickness and cut the dough into 6 rectangles. Place on a baking sheet and use a fork to prick the dough in the middle of each rectangle, leaving the outer sides as is so they will rise, forming a border to help to contain the filling.

Bake for 5 minutes until the pastry starts to turn golden. Remove from the oven and spread each with some of the Gruyère filling.

For the topping, toss the tomatoes with the basil, oil and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and divide it evenly across each tart.

Return to the oven and bake until the pastry is dark golden and flaky, and the filling is roasted and bubbling.

Serve immediately topped with a scatter of fresh basil leaves.

Tip; If you’d prefer to buy pre-made pastry, try to get a quality butter puff pastry in a single block so you can roll it out slightly thicker than those sold in sheets.

Using a mixture of tomato varieties makes this salad a real showstopper.

Fresh Tomato, Grilled Nectarine and Burrata Salad
Serves 6–8

3 large ripe nectarines, sliced into wedges
600g mixed ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 fresh burrata cheeses, torn
Fresh basil leaves to garnish
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or a nut/seed of your liking)


½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp mānuka honey
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 spring onions
1 clove garlic

Grill the nectarine segments on a barbecue or grilling pan and set aside. To assemble, on a large platter, scatter the tomatoes, nectarines and burrata pieces, then top with the basil and pine nuts.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender, season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse until smooth. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Thanks to Turners and Growers for delivering us the delicious tomatoes for this November shoot, when Holly’s weren’t quite ready yet!
Words, recipes & styling by Holly McVicar Photography by ilk