Stuffed tomatoes

This dish started with a culinary crisis. What to to cook for dinner when all you have in the fridge is minced meat, loads of good looking tomatoes and you are not allowed carbohydrates? Easy solution: stuffed tomatoes. Technically, stuffed tomatoes have rice or bread crumbs on their filling. But, I was not going that detail to get in the middle of a respectable meal.

Stuffed tomatoes


  • 1 Kg of tomato (it depends a lot on the size of the tomatoes).
  • 500g  of minced meat (for best results, I use a mix of pork and beef)
  • 3 small yellow  onions finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic grounded
  • Olive oil
  • Chinese five-spice powder to taste (or, if you want a more mediterranean taste a mix of rosemary, tarragon, thyme, oregano and basil).
  • Hot paprika
  • Sultanas to taste.
  • Quark to taste
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper


Slice off the top of the tomatoes and hollow out with a spoon, leaving a thick shell (about 2cm).

In a large frying pan, put about 2 table spoons of olive oil and let it heat until is sizzling. Put the onions and the garlic and mix well.  Season with  freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Put the heat to medium and let the onions caramelize.

When the onions are golden and soft, add the minced meat and mix well. Add the Chinese five-spice powder and the paprika to test. Let the minced meat brow. If you want, you can add sultanas.

Once the meat is brown, add quark until you obtain a consistent paste.

Fill the tomatoes with this mix and  put them on a oven proof dish, previously greased with olive oil (a thin layer will do). Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15min at 200 oC.

Spicy beef curry

Never a dull curry: 10 different spices and 2 different powdered curry mixes.The recipe is from Gordon Ramsay‘s Healthy appetite
Spicy beef curry

  • 2kg good quality lean rump steak cut into cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt – I used soya yoghurt.
  • 4–5 tbsp light olive oil
  • 4 large sweet onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 5cm knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar or to taste – I used sugar cane.
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml beef stock
  • Handful of coriander, leaves separated, stalks finely chopped
  • 6–8 cardamom pods
  • 15–20 curry leaves
  • 6 long chillies finely chopped – I used 2 coffee spoons of dried piri piri.
For the spicy mix
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4 tsp mild curry powder
Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes, put into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the garam masala, add the yoghurt and a good dash of olive oil, season and toss to coat. Cover with cling film and marinate for as long as possible while you prepare the rest of the curry.
For the spice mix, toast the cumin, coriander, fennel and fenugreek seeds in a dry pan, tossing over high heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Tip into a mortar, add a pinch of salt and grind to a fine powder. Stir in the curry powder and mix well.
Heat a thin film of olive oil in a large cast-iron casserole or a heavy-based pan (I used a special pan called cataplana – it is something in between a wok and a heavy based pan). Add the onions, garlic, chilli, ginger and a little seasoning. Add the sugar to help caramelise the onions, followed by the coriander stalks cardamom pods and ground spice mix, stir, then cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until the onions are soft, lifting the lid to give the mixture a stir a few times.
Sear the beef in a hot pan and add to the onions along with the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree, stir over a medium-high heat for a few minutes and then add the beef stock and curry leaves. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 mins or until the beef is tender.
To serve, ladle the curry into warm bowls and scatter over the coriander leaves. Accompany with a steaming bowl of basmati rice