Welcome to Eat Well Every Day

Welcome to Eat Well Every Day!

I've spent years researching nutritional information, food ideas and recipes, because cooking and eating - especially with family & friends - are some of life's great pleasures. And guess what- healthy food doesn't have to be boring! It can be exciting and delicious!


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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tomatoes – the taste of Summer!

It’s Summer here in Australia, and when I went shopping for fruit and vegetables at our local farmers' market yesterday, I saw the most amazing range of tomatoes I’ve ever seen. I live in one of the most urbanised (and hip) parts of Sydney – Newtown – but we’re blessed with a weekly and superb farmers' market, where a huge variety of organic and almost organic foods is displayed and farmers talk enthusiastically about what they grow or rear.

The tomatoes ranged from barely the size of a grape to whoppers about 15 cm (6“) wide, and in colour from palest golden to the true tomato red. Many were heritage breeds, and I must admit, none were cheap. But the smell, and the shapes and colours! Gave a lift to the spirits even before tasting them.

Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, notably the chemical that gives them their red hue – lycopene. It’s one of the most effective antioxidants around, measured by how it quenches oxygen in laboratory tests. It’s 100 times more effective than Vitamin E, the most well-known antioxidant compound.

Given its antioxidant properties, there’s a lot of scientific and clinical research going on into the relationship between eating lycopene-rich foods and general health. Early research suggests some lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even male infertility.

While tomatoes are the main source of lycopene, lycopene is also responsible for the colour of red carrots, watermelons and papayas, but not in raspberries, strawberries or cherries.

Of course, tomatoes aren’t the only antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables we can enjoy. I’ve written about the health benefits of some others: broccoli and grapes.

Eating seasonally – what a pleasure!

The wonderful aspect of eating seasonally is that food is at its best, nutritionally, but also in those important sensory aspects that make cooking and eating so enjoyable – taste, smell, colour, texture – you could almost say ‘personality’!

So here’s a couple of summer tomato recipes from Australia. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, here’s an interesting fact: processing tomatoes by canning or cooking actually increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene. In fact, the lycopene in tomato paste is four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes! Canned tomatoes and products such as semi-dried tomatoes and tomato paste will add lycopene and a rich flavour to your winter dishes.

Tomato Salad with Feta or Bocconcini

Per person:
• Handful of rocket leaves or mesclun salad greens
• Whatever fresh tomatoes take your fancy, sliced
• 3 bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls) sliced
• OR 100 grams(3 oz) feta cheese, chopped roughly
• Handful of sweet basil leaves, torn
• Rock salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Arrange prettily on a plate, and dress with a swirl of the best extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.

Roasted Tomatoes

Cut in halves 500 grams (1lb) of meaty tomatoes and lay in a single layer on a baking tray, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt, and brush with a little good olive oil.

Roast in a very slow oven (120 degrees C/250 degrees F) for 4-5 hours. Delicious on toasted crusty Italian bread with extra-virgin olive oil and some crushed garlic. Garnish with fresh basil.

Buon Appetito!


  1. Love that the second recipe is vegan... and anything with olive oil and salt makes me happy. Wouldn't mind seeing some thoughts about sodium... although I suspect that adding a good wallop of salt to roast veg. is not as bad as eating processed foods. By a long margin!

  2. Well, sodium is not a healthy food! So I'd be reluctant to write about it, except along the lines of "find ways to eat less", or "replace with herbs or spices".

    It's really only good for taking the wershness out of oats & other bland carbohydrates.

  3. It's exciting to see that UNESCO is considering listing the Mediterranean Diet on its world heritage list as "an intangible cultural heritage". As well as being good for you, of course!