Growing Tomatoes and A Tasty Spelt Tomato Tart

I love tomatoes. I love cooking with them, eating them, and especially growing them. This is a great recipe to really showcase their taste and beauty.

Tasty Spelt Home Grown Tomato Tart
This recipe was featured in Holistic Bliss Magazine

Ingredients
1 & ½ cups mixed fresh home grown tomatoes ( I have used heirloom varieties here)
½ medium sized leek
3 free range egg yolks
1 & ½ cups spelt flour
¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated
¼ cup cheddar cheese, finely grated
85 g goats cheese
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, stalks removed
1 teaspoon dried thyme, stalks removed
2 tablespoons cold water
125g butter, chilled and cut up into small cubes



Method
Pre heat oven to approximately 180’c.
Grease a tin or dish for your tomato tart.
Wash and then dry the tomatoes.
Sift flour into a bowl.
Add in the chilled butter, rub into the flour using your fingers, working your way through the mixture until it looks a little bit like breadcrumbs.
Add in the rosemary, mix through.
Add in the egg yolks and the water, kneading it into a smooth looking dough.
Wrap and chill in the fridge for around 20 minutes.
Remove from fridge and roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper to make a reasonably thin large shape.
Cut to shape to fit your prepared tin, pressing edges into place around the pan.
Layer the pastry with the leek, followed by the grated cheeses.
Break up the goat’s cheese and place in segments around the tart.
Slice all the tomatoes to a similar thickness and arrange on the tart. Trying not to have it too thick in any one place and a nice even coverage, sprinkle the thyme over the top.
Bake in a medium hot oven for approximately 30 minutes or until pastry is cooked. Pastry should be golden and cooked and tomatoes should be visibly cooked on top.
Serve with a fresh green salad.

Notes
This is a great recipe for home grown tomatoes, especially organic, interesting heirloom varieties. If you don’t grow your own you can use bought tomatoes like cherry, roma or other varieties. If you don't have your own tomatoes look out for a packet of heirloom tomatoes when you are shopping.
Tomatoes are an easy and rewarding crop to grow and one I recommend highly for kids.
Tomatoes
Solanum lycopersicumTomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and they have so much reward, and because of this they are great for getting kids interested in real foods and gardening. Kids love being able to pick tomatoes and eat them fresh straight from the garden, especially cherry tomatoes.

Belonging to the nightshade family and originating from Mexico and eaten widely around the world there are estimated to be more than 7 and 1/2 thousand cultivars and several wild varieties and some of these are truly incredible but for me it is the older, heirloom varieties that interest me the most along with some of the trusty favourites.


My top tomato growing tips:

  • Tomatoes love and need lots of SUN. Make sure where you plan to grow them gets lots of lovely full sun.
  • Get the soil right. I say this all the time in gardening workshops, one thing you should never scrimp on in gardening is getting your soil the best it can be. This means compost, manure, lots of organic matter, and for tomatoes some lime and a little potash too all prepared into a beautiful, rich soil mix before planting. The more effort and time you spend here in the beginning, the better, healthier and stronger plants you will get. 
  • Water right. Try really hard not to be a sposmadic waterer. Get yourself into a routine. Don't give them heaps one day and then forget them for a week only to drown them again. Try and water them well (not drowned) on a regular basis, and water at the roots rather than spraying water on their leaves. 
  • Keep them healthy. Strong tomatoes are pretty hardy, but tomatoes are of course susceptible to a few pests and diseases. Prevention is always better than cure. Tomatoes can get a disease from calcium deficiency, hence why it is good to add lime to to soil when you prepare it, before planting, another tip > back in my nursery days the best tomato grower I knew, an elderly Italian man with his prize winning tomatoes gave his epsom salts, how do they work? They give the plants magnesium, when plants are deficient in magnesium it makes it hard for them to absorb other nutrients they need and they can be weak and even get sick. A good rich soil should provide them with this but you could also try just a little, every so often watered in around the roots at a weak ratio.
  • Seasol. Seaweed emulsions and fish emulsions are my favourite fertiliser. Seasol can be added to your watering can and poured right over the entire plant, it is one of the safest of all fertilisers, even safe with orchids, and protects and strengthens plants making them better able to cope with stress, frost, drought, winds even salt spray and plants fertilised with it are much less likely to suffer insect attack.
  • Companion plant. I plant carrots, basil, mint, parsley, marigolds and chives around my tomatoes.
  • If you see just a few insects, don't panic straight away! It is important in an organic garden to encourage natural predators and many of these will be insects too, killing all bugs kills them as well so this means letting a good balance develop in your garden and only treating insects in large numbers or hand removal if possible. If your plants are healthy and strong, well nourished and watered, they are far less likely to be attacked so focus on keeping them healthy, right from the start.
  • Support them, remember to stake and trellis where needed.
  • As much as you can, try and grow them organically. Avoid the synthetic fertilisers and if you do have to spray try natural remedies. 
  • Grow to your climate. Tomatoes are pretty versatile and in a lot of Australia will grow pretty much all year round but if you live in a specific area like a cold climate or really tropical spot - check with your local nursery for varieties that grow really well where you live as some will be more suited than others and you may also need to grow only in a set season or with some added tools.
  • Be adventurous. Tomatoes vary from tiny pea sized to giant beefsteak varieties, so don't be frightened to try a few different ones, look out for heirloom, organic and unusual varieties. I would recommend getting seed from seed saver clubs as well as seeing what your local nurseries have to offer.
  • Growing in pots. Yes tomatoes can be grown in pots, if needed, some varieties are much better suited than others and go for a nice, really large pot and a really good potting mix with plenty of added compost.
  • Get the kids involved, right from the start. Let them help choose seed or seedlings, prepare the soil, I always tell my kids it is like a giant cake mix and you need all the ingredients just right. Let them help water and why not make it an experiment and let them keep a journal, writing down each step and taking measurements at how they are growing right through to their first harvest. They can then look up recipes and you can do some fun cooking together with your own home grown tomatoes!
    Why not check out a gorgeous PLANET ECO kids gardening gift pack!
  • Stay interested. One of the biggest thing I have seen is people starting out really well but losing interest after a few weeks and then plants get neglected and neglect usually leads to weak plants which leads to sick plants or insect attack and so on.
    I recommend planting some very pretty annuals along the edges of your garden bed, seems such a little thing, but it truly can help you interested and enjoy being out their more watering etc it makes the whole area inviting and beautiful. I often grow vegetables in amongst flowers, to me vegetables are gorgeous plants well worth showing off and make stunning centre pieces too.
Happy Cooking & Gardening!


Bek XX
recipe, text and photography (c)RebeccaMugridge2013

14 comments:

  1. Yum! I just planted a cherry tomato last weekend and am looking forward to the harvest :) This looks so delicious, all my favourite flavours. I already have the rosemary and thyme growing so I'm halfway there.

    Thanks for the tomato-growing tips as well.

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  2. Some great tips for growing tomatoes. I recently just planted some heirloom and look forward to taste testing
    Visiting from FYBF and Sweet Little Pretties

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Lisa - let me know if you make it XX

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  3. Not a Tomato fan myself, but my wife grows them with great results

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  4. There is something just so satisfying about growing your own food, isn't there. These tomatoes look gorgeous and the recipe looks really tasty. I'm going to give it a try this weekend!

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    1. There really is Deanna!
      Let me know how you went Xx

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  5. I've grown some wonderful tomatoes in my youth. Nowadays, I can't do the watering, so I've had to set that passtime aside. Love the look of your recipe.

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  6. Thanks for this info Bek, will bookmark it for later. Looking at getting a vegie garden off the ground in the next couple of months :)

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I love that you found yourself on my blog!
Thank you reading.
Have a gorgeous day!

Rebecca X

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