I went to an insanely overpriced but beautiful health food shop today in Finsbury Park. Sometimes, I like to swish around this shop and pretend I’m a regular customer. I even put three large avocados in my basket knowing they’re £2.50 each without so much as a small grimace on my face – I’m such a good actress. (I quickly put two back without anyone noticing.)
I spend a good 20 minutes picking items off the shelves, pretending to read the labels before returning them to their place – God, I’m having a great time. I eventually reach the counter with a mere five items in my basket all carefully plucked and examined ready for purchase.
“That will be fifteen pounds and twenty nine pence, please,” says the smug man behind the counter with long greasy hair. Shit – he knows! He knows I think this shop is ridiculously overpriced and that I usually shop at Tesco. The bastard! Two can play at this game. I smile sweetly and tap my bank card on the card reader as if I don’t have a care in the world.
I turn to leave, still smiling like a slightly deranged mental patient.
“Would you like a date?” the greasy haired man calls after me. Feeling slightly flattered, but mostly awkward, I turn to say, “Sorry, I have a boyfr….” when I realise he is elbow deep in a giant glass jar of what looks like crusty old turds. My neck is suddenly very hot as I realise my error.
“Err, yes please,” I say quickly, as he drops a large date into my open palm. I take a bite, thinking I can always chuck it away when I get outside, but to my surprise it’s soft, sweet and delicious. I then burst into tears – it’s been a hard month.
Back home, I spread the expensive bread I just bought with the expensive feta and top with baked expensive tomatoes and you know what? When you feel like utter shit, there’s nothing better than glorified cheese on toast to make everything okay again… That and a big juicy date. So weird.
Baked tomatoes & feta on toast
Serves 2 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 25 mins / V
Extra virgin olive oil
4 large tomatoes or 6 medium tomatoes on the vine
6 thyme sprigs
100g vegetarian feta
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 large sliced sourdough bread, toasted
2 poached eggs to serve eggs (optional)
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Leaving the tomatoes on the vine, place on a non stick baking tray and spear each tomato with a fresh thyme sprig. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
2. Once the tomatoes are baked, turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes inside to keep warm. If you’re poaching eggs, now is a good time to get them on. Toast the bread and rub each slice with a peeled garlic clove. Split the feta between the 2 slices and squish down roughly with the back of a fork.
3. Remove the warm tomatoes from the oven, discard the thyme sprigs and evenly distribute the tomatoes on top of the feta. Press the tomatoes down using the back of a fork releasing some of the juice. Serve immediately drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a good crack of salt and pepper and top each with a poached egg (optional).
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V – Vegetarian