Being related to a doctor is a wonderful thing, but those of you who aren’t can buy your own drugs paraphernalia at the chemist’s. Nothing is guaranteed to concern your guests more than arriving to find you injecting home-flavoured vodka into a couple of giant punnets of cherry tomatoes.
These little guys are, by design, very sharp. Be sure not to have any vodka yourself before you start this; you’ll need all your faculties clear and lucid in order to avoid spicy vodka-finger.
I made a Bloody-ish Mary base by mixing nearly half a small glass of unflavoured vodka with half a glass of lemon vodka, the juice of two limes and two teaspoons of wasabi. You need lots of spicing; only a little of the mixture goes to flavour each tiny tomato.
Carefully insert the needle at the place in the tomato where the stalk was attached. Squeeze down on the plunger gently until you can feel the little tomato swell and become stiff. Serve in a great big bowl, warning guests that these are not precisely tomatoes.
Here is an equally tasty option for needle-phobics. Unfortunately, I put this canape together after a few too many tomatoes, so it’s not as pretty as the first batch was. The first seeded, skinned tomatoes were diced attractively. The layers were neat and not smeary. The baby basil leaves were not all oily. Still – it still tasted great, and they’re very easy to make. You’ll need:
1 loaf white multigrain bread, sliced
1 bulb garlic
1 pat butter
1 pot fresh pesto
2 tubs soft goat cheese
1 punnet tomatoes, skinned and deseeded
Simmer the chopped garlic in the butter for fifteen minutes until it is soft, and the butter is infused with the scent. Use a rolling pin to roll flat the slices of bread, and cut out fifty circles of the squashed bread with a cookie cutter. Brush each side with the garlic butter and bake in a hot oven for around 15-20 minutes until the little rounds are crisp and brown. Once they have cooled, you can keep the garlicky bases in an airtight box for a few days, and they won’t lose their crispness.
Score the skin of the tomatoes in a little cross at the base, and pour boiling water over them straight from the kettle. This should loosen the skins so that you can peel them off easily. Chop them into four and throw the seeds away. Dice the tomato flesh.
Spread each crisp round with a layer of fresh pesto, a layer of goat cheese and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes. Garnish with basil and eat quickly to keep the crunch.