Baby Leeks and Tomatoes with Oregano and Thyme

14 Aug

I can’t really call this a recipe. It’s just four ingredients cooked quickly in a pan with some olive oil. Which is about all the cooking I can manage in this heat.  I have also been working (in kitchens) for the past three weeks so I also have a slight aversion to being in one longer than absolutely necessary.

This goes someway towards explaining  my recent blogging absence too. We have been working as menu consultants at a beautiful yoga retreat hotel and restaurant called Shanti Som in Monda/Marbella. We have created a menu for them that compliments the style of the surroundings and the health and well-being ethos of the retreat. The new menu takes the best from the hotel’s Asian roots and Mediterranean heart ensuring that there is hopefully something for everyone to enjoy. Starting with fresh, seasonal and colourful salads…

Moving on to a Roasted Vegetable and Goats Cheese Tartlet with an olive oil spelt flour pastry case, Lebanese Lamb Burger with hummus, chargrilled aubergine, tabouli and tzatziki salad, Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce and Fresh Fish of the Day with an Asian or Mediterranean marinade.

We then moved on to cooking lunch in a private villa for a family of 14 people every day for two weeks. Now this may sound like a bit of a nightmare but luckily they were very open to our “world of flavours” which made our lives a lot easier and more fun. The family was Iranian living in London, Paris, Boston and Switzerland. They meet up once a year for a holiday together. They were lovely people and we really enjoyed cooking for the whole family, including the children, which could be a little challenging at times!!

We cooked from a different country every day but our favourite (and I’m sure theirs) was the Persian food that we made. We learnt a lot about Persian cuisine from the Aunties, the Grandma and the nieces which was fabulous. We served a fresh rocket and herb salad every day, they love fresh herbs and greens (sabzi is the Persian word for greens).

The Washer Up made a gorgeous Persian Roast Lamb marinated in lots of spices and served with an apricot, orange and date glaze. Pomegranates make everything look beautiful and burst like sweet jewels in your mouth.

Alongside the Lamb and Herb Salad we also served Shirazi, a tomato, cucumber and red onion salad with mint and lime juice, Tomatoes Stuffed with feta, apricot and almond couscous and Sabzi (fresh herb) rice. Persian is my new favourite food. I didn’t even like dill before, now I love it! It’s so good in rice and in a Tzatziki dip as well as the mint you should try it. They also add sultanas and chopped walnuts which takes it to another level completely.

So back to the non recipe. It’s all about quality and freshness of ingredients if you’re going to go this minimal. We bought some tiny little baby cherry tomatoes and baby leeks from the organic market this Sunday. There they were next to each other as I unpacked the bag. Sometimes it is that easy. Sometimes you are incapable of anything else. Occasionally it all works out perfectly. This was one of those times. We have fresh oregano and thyme growing on the roof so they went in as well.

I served them with a poached egg and spinach on brown toast. You could eat them with anything. The next evening we had them with some Italian white bean and rosemary cakes. They would be lovely with a steak or to toss with some freshly cooked pasta or on their own with a chunk of nice bread.

Baby Leeks & Tomatoes with Oregano & Thyme

Vegan, gluten-free. Serves 2 as a side dish

  • 2 tbsp good olive oil (Andalucian Extra Virgen if possible)
  • 250 g baby cherry tomatoes (the smaller the better for quick cooking)
  • 3 baby leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways, rinsed to get rid of any mud and finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed, chopped (about 1/2 tsp) or dried
  • 1/2 tsp fresh chopped oregano leaves or dried
  • salt & black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and saute the leeks with a pinch of salt for about a minute then add the tomatoes and herbs. Season well with salt & black pepper. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally for a few minutes until the tomatoes begin to split and soften. Serve with anything you like.

Buen Provecho!!


17 Responses to “Baby Leeks and Tomatoes with Oregano and Thyme”

  1. Geri Allen August 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Lovely stuff… the lamb’s not very vegetarian though.

  2. Margarita August 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Mouth watering!

  3. kellie@foodtoglow August 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Oh my days that all looks so wonderful! Your menus sound like things I could eat every day of my life and not feel jaded. Beautiful combinations. And then what a job cooking every day for 14 folk. Wow! I adore Persian food too but I would love to one day have the real thing rather than what we come up with here in Britain with our ingredients… Not forgetting the herby tomatoes – a perfect summer side dish, or as you have done and I often do, a breakfast dish with poached eggs. Scrummy, lovely Natalie

  4. Claire Hitchen August 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Made it. Absolutely delicious! Will definately become a firm favourite in our house. Thank you. The Persian lamb looked amazing. Don’t suppose you have the recipe for that too?

    • foodblogandthedog August 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Blimey that was quick!! Will dig out the Persian Lamb recipe for my next post, hopefully!! Going away for a few days now to chill out!

      • Claire Hitchen August 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

        Luckily I had everything I needed including the oil which my parents bring back from their Spanish home by the gallon ! I urge everyone to make it. Have a good break and looking forward to the Persian lamb recipe, (that is not vegatarian) .

  5. Peter @Feed Your Soul August 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    love tomatoes and leeks. need to take advantage of the tomatoes while they are still in season.

  6. Allison August 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Those tomatoes look AMAZING. And I like the idea of cooking them in a pan (instead of slow-roasting them which is something I do often in the summers…) since it means you don’t have to turn the oven on!

  7. Conor Bofin August 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    Fantastic photography. I am in awe of your talents. The tomatoes look beautiful.

  8. Amy August 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    I can’t wait for summer here in the southern hemisphere – I’ll be serving these with some gorgeous buffalo buratta!

  9. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 15, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    You always have the best looking tomatoes!

  10. peasepudding August 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    How exciting your new adventure! I have just started a course of cooking classes at GourmetGannet with a fitness trainer. I also have a friend who is a yoga teacher and I have been thinking about doing the very same here in NZ.

    • foodblogandthedog August 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      It is really exciting, feels like just the beginning of something! I love the yoga/ food combination, you get to be really creative with seasonal organic lovely things and the clients/customers are so open & enthusiastic about everything. Definitely the way to go! x

  11. supercaliveggie August 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I love cherry tomatoes with oregano or basil but I never tried before with thyme! Thank you, I like your blog!

  12. Three Well Beings August 16, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    You have been missed, Natalie! I’m so glad you explained your absence, because I kept checking to see if I was just not receiving your posts! Your experiences sound utterly amazing and all-consuming. I just can’t imagine how hard you’ve been working. The quality and creativity would automatically ensure success, but I’m sure it’s been stressful. I only wish I could hire you for a month (day) of private cooking! 🙂 I’m so glad you shared today. You may only have four ingredients, but it’s the way you present your dishes that makes you extraordinary. I wish you success with your many ventures. Debra

  13. dassana August 17, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    good to see you back natalie with a new post. shall i assume you would be adding some persian recipes as well?

    the colors of the tomatoes are looking gorgeous and an easy recipe.

  14. foodblogandthedog August 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Thanks Debra, it’s good to be back!

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