I eat tomatoes like they're apples. I crunch into them like its nobody's business.
But you know what I've started to notice? People are increasingly deciding to make it their business.
There I sit, usually on the train on the way to work, casually eating a juicy tomato and I get stared at. Surely this is not a reason to become a social outcast? Apparently not. And you should see the looks I get when I whip out a carrot.
Don't get me wrong, people aren't always rude... they're just curious as to why I would choose a raw radish as a snack (because it's delicious). It's quite a conversation starter.
I remember a girl came into the shop I work at, munching on a whole cucumber. I approached her with joy and expressed to her my excitement that there are others like me out there. She explained to me that she often is the recipient of odd looks from people too. And that her boyfriend thinks she's a weirdo.
"Hey! Me too!" I replied, exasperated.
We laughed. We shared a moment. Then she walked off onto the street outside, with her head held high, slightly more confident that she could tackle any awkward social situation her raw vegie eating habit may cause her.
...See how vegetables can bring people together? I'm convinced of it. Maybe next time you're on the bus, crack open a capsicum and see if anyone will strike up a conversation with you about how cool it is that they are always in season. Or maybe they won't, and will instead stare at you with a quizzical look on their face. Either way it's an amusing way to get your 5 a day.
Upside Down Tomato Tart
Recipe by Belinda Jeffrey in '100 Favourite Recipes'
This is kind of like a giant cheesy scone base with a warm, intensely tomatoey top thats been spruced up with sharp parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
1 x 800g can crushed tomatoes
225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
100g parmesan, freshly grated
50g cheddar cheese, finely grated
125g butter, in chunks, chilled
1/3 cup milk
couple of shakes of Tabasco Sauce 3 large vine ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
Large handful of basil
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Butter a shallow, 26cm round ovenproof dish and line the base with buttered baking paper.
Pour the canned tomatoes into a siece and leave them to drain.
Whiz the flour, salt and mustard together in a food processor. Add the cheeses and whiz again just to mix them in. Now add the butter, and process it until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and tabasco sauce.
Make a well in the cheese/flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Mix everything together to form a fairly stiff batter.
Lie the sliced tomatoes in overlapping circles in the base of the buttered dish so the bottom is completely covered. Spread the drained tomatoes evenly over the top and sprinkle with a few shredded leaves of basil. Dollop spoonfuls of the batter over the tomatoes. With lightly floured hands, pat it out to spread it evenly. Don't worry if there are a few gaps - these will fill as the pie bakes.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping has risen and is golden. Remove from the oven and let it to settle in the dish for 30 minutes or so before inverting onto a serving platter. I like to serve this tart cool but you can also serve it warm.