It may sound a bit sad, but I love going food shopping. I'll spend a little time getting together what meals I want to cook for the week and pulling together a shopping list, then it's off I go. I'll methodically go up and down the aisles, checking off each item on my list as I drop it into the trolley - doubtlessly I'll accidentally forget a few things and have to return on my way back.
My favourite aisle is the cheese aisle. Not because of the cheese (though I do love cheese), but because at the far end is the reduced section. Here are the hidden gems. The expensive cuts of meat, that extra special dessert, cheap veggies. However much of a struggle it may be to squeeze in between all the other shoppers fighting for a bargain, it's well worth it.
My reasons for liking the reduced section so much are two-fold. Firstly, it's reduced. I'm saving money. Secondly, it helps the environment. Everything that gets thrown away from supermarkets will undoubtedly end up in landfill sites.
Amongst other things, this week I obtained some sausages and tomatoes. The sausages went straight into the freezer when I got home, but as the tomatoes weren't going to last long I fancied doing something special with them, and something that would make them last - slow roasted tomatoes.
As anyone who purchases sundried tomatoes will know, they are expensive. So for me, this is an ideal alternative. Simply quarter the tomatoes and place them in a baking tray with olive oil and fresh oregano. Season well and place in an oven on its lowest setting. Leave for a few hours, checking occasionally. The tomatoes with release their moisture and start to dry up, thus intensifying their bold sweet, acidic flavours. When they're ready, drain the juices off and store them in a clean kiln jar along with extra virgin olive oil to cover and help preserve them.
The resulting oven dried tomatoes can be used in many dishes such as pizzas and salads, and the Sicilian Sausage Pasta dish below.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat in a frying pan. Cut 8 sausages into bite size pieces and gently fry them for 10 minutes, adding 8 quarters of the oven dried tomatoes and 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes half way through. Meanwhile, cook 400g dischi volanti pasta per packet instructions in salted water. Drain the pasta and stir through the sausage sauce along with 4 tbsp creme fraiche, 1 tbsp pecorino cheese and a handful of torn fresh oregano. Serve immediately topped with more cheese and a sprinkling of oregano.
Recipe adapted from July 2011 Issue of Delicious