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Author: Amy Riley

This Spring Tomato and Cucumber Cooler is a light and refreshing drink that captures the essence of the season. With the juicy sweetness of ripe tomatoes, the crispness of cucumber, and the herbal notes of fresh basil, each sip is a revitalizing burst of flavour. Perfect for sipping on a warm spring day or serving as a refreshing beverage at your next outdoor gathering, this cooler is sure to delight your taste buds and quench your thirst. Cheers to springtime and the vibrant flavours it brings!


  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes, for serving
  • Fresh basil leaves or cucumber slices, for garnish (optional)


Step 1- Blend the ingredients: In a blender, combine the chopped tomatoes, cucumber, fresh basil leaves, lemon juice, honey (if using), salt, and black pepper. Blend until smooth and well combined.

Step 2 – Strain (Optional): If you prefer a smoother texture, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any pulp. Discard the solids and transfer the strained liquid to a pitcher.

Step 3 – Add cold water: Pour the cold water into the pitcher with the tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir well to combine.

Step 4 – Chill: Place the pitcher in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together.

Step 5 – Serve: Fill glasses with ice cubes and pour the chilled tomato-cucumber cooler over the ice. Garnish each glass with a fresh basil leaf or cucumber slice, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy the refreshing taste of spring!

As nature awakens from the winter and spring emerges as a pivotal season for tomato cultivation, what better time is there to celebrate the success of spring in tomato cultivation? From seed to harvest, the journey of tomatoes unfolds against the backdrop of spring’s transformative beauty. Let’s delve into three key reasons why spring holds such significance for tomatoes:

  1. Ideal growing conditions

Spring heralds the arrival of milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, creating optimal conditions for the growth and development of tomato plants. As the soil begins to warm up, gardeners eagerly prepare their plots and containers for the planting season. Tomatoes thrive in the balmy days and cool nights of spring.

  1. Transplanting

Spring marks the opportune moment for transplanting tomato seedlings into the garden or larger containers, providing them with ample time to establish strong root systems and acclimate to their new surroundings before the heat of summer arrives. With careful attention to spacing, soil preparation, and proper watering, gardeners lay the foundation for healthy, productive tomato plants that will bear fruit throughout the summer months.

  1. Pollination and fruit set

As spring unfolds and tomato plants mature, bees, butterflies, and other insects play a crucial role in the pollination process of tomatoes, transferring pollen from flower to flower and ensuring the successful fertilization of tomato blossoms.

Spring serves as a time of renewal and growth for tomatoes, offering ideal conditions for planting, transplanting, and pollination. With each passing day, tomato plants respond to the warmth and vitality of spring with its optimum time to grow.

These Spring Tomato and Mozzarella Skewers with Balsamic Glaze are the perfect springtime snack, combining the vibrant flavours of ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze. Quick and easy to assemble, these skewers are sure to impress guests at your next spring gathering or provide a delightful treat for a sunny afternoon snack. Enjoy the fresh taste of spring with every bite of these irresistible skewers.


  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Toothpicks or small skewers


Step 1 – Prepare the ingredients: Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry with a paper towel. Drain any excess liquid from the mini mozzarella balls. Pick fresh basil leaves and set aside.

Step 2 – Assemble the skewers: Take a toothpick or small skewer and thread one cherry tomato, followed by one mini mozzarella ball, and one fresh basil leaf. Repeat this process until all ingredients are used, alternating between the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves.

Step 3 – Drizzle with balsamic glaze: Arrange the assembled skewers on a serving platter. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the skewers, ensuring each one is lightly coated with the sweet and tangy glaze.

Step 4 – Serve: Serve the Spring Tomato and Mozzarella Skewers immediately as a delightful springtime snack or appetiser.

This Spring Tomato and Avocado Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is the perfect way to celebrate the fresh flavours of the season. With ripe tomatoes, creamy avocado, and a zesty lemon vinaigrette, each bite is a burst of sunshine on your plate. Enjoy this vibrant salad as a light and nutritious lunch, savouring the bounty of springtime produce with every refreshing bite.


  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1 – Prepare the salad ingredients: Slice the tomatoes and avocado into thin slices. Thinly slice the red onion and cucumber. Chop the fresh basil and parsley leaves. Arrange the tomato and avocado slices on a serving platter or individual plates, alternating them for visual appeal. Scatter the red onion and cucumber slices over the tomatoes and avocados.

Step 2 – Make the Lemon Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, honey (if using), minced garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Step 3 – Assemble the salad: Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over the tomato and avocado slices, ensuring each slice is lightly coated with the dressing. Sprinkle the chopped basil and parsley leaves over the salad.

Step 4 – Season to Taste: Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste, enhancing the flavours of the fresh ingredients.

Step 5 – Serve: Serve the Spring Tomato and Avocado Salad immediately as a light and refreshing lunch or side dish.

As Sun Awareness Week serves as a reminder of the vital role that sunlight plays in nurturing life on our planet. For tomato enthusiasts, this week holds particular significance—a time to reflect on the profound impact of sunshine in the cultivation of these vibrant fruits. Join us as we explore the importance of sun awareness when growing tomatoes and celebrate the connection between sunlight and tomato health:

  1. Fuelling tomato growth with sunlight

Sunlight is the primary source of energy for plants, driving the process of photosynthesis. In the case of tomatoes, sunlight fuels the synthesis of sugars and carbohydrates within the plant, providing the essential nutrients needed for growth, flowering, and fruit production. Exposure to sunlight is crucial for healthy tomato plants, ensuring growth. When planning your tomato garden, choose a sunny location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day, providing the optimal conditions for photosynthesis to work its magic.

  1. Enhancing tomato flavour and nutrition

Beyond its role in photosynthesis, sunlight plays a crucial role in enhancing the flavour and nutritional value of tomatoes. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation stimulates the production of phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which contribute to the distinctive taste and vibrant colour of ripe tomatoes.

  1. Protecting tomato plants from harmful effects

While sunlight is essential for tomato cultivation, it’s important to strike a balance and be aware of the risks associated with excessive sun exposure. Intense sunlight and high temperatures can lead to sunburn and heat stress in tomato plants, causing leaf scorch, wilting, and diminished fruit quality. To protect your tomato plants from sun-related damage, provide shade during the hottest part of the day using shade cloth or row covers.

As the blossoms of spring fills the landscape and the air fills with the promise of new beginnings, National Gardening Week emerges as an opportunity to reconnect with the earth and cultivate green spaces that nourish body and soul.

For tomato enthusiasts, this week holds a special significance—a chance to revel in the joys of tending to these vibrant fruits and nurturing them to their full potential. Here are three essential tips for caring for your tomato plants during National Gardening Week:

  1. Planting with purpose

The journey of tomato cultivation begins with thoughtful planning and preparation. Choose a sunny spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily, providing the ideal environment for successful tomato growth. Ensure the soil is well-drained and enriched with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to promote healthy root development and nutrient uptake. When planting seedlings or transplants, bury them deep in the soil, up to the first set of leaves, to encourage sturdy root systems and resilient plants.

  1. Nurturing tender shoots

As your tomato plants grow from the soil, it’s essential to provide them with the care and attention they require to flourish. Regular watering is crucial, particularly during dry spells, to prevent the soil from drying out and ensure consistent moisture levels for optimal growth.

  1. Cultivating with care

As the warm days of summer come closer and closer, your tomato plants will reach their peak of productivity. Harvesting tomatoes at their peak of ripeness ensures optimal flavour and nutrition, so keep an eye on your plants and pick fruits as they mature. Gently twist or cut ripe tomatoes from the vine, taking care not to damage the plant or surrounding foliage.

As we celebrate National Gardening Week, let us embrace the simple pleasures of tending to our toms and enjoying their delicious flavours!

The tomato, with its juicy texture and vibrant colour, holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts and gardeners alike. Beyond its culinary versatility, tomatoes boast a rich tapestry of history and intriguing characteristics. In the midst of the growing season as we get closer to summer, here are three fascinating facts about tomatoes that we hope you find as interesting as we do!

  1. A Berry Disguised as a Vegetable

While commonly perceived as a vegetable in culinary contexts, the tomato is botanically classified as a fruit. In fact, it belongs to the family Solanaceae, which includes other fruit-bearing plants such as potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Botanically speaking, a fruit is defined as the mature ovary of a flowering plant, containing seeds. By this definition, tomatoes fit the bill perfectly, as they develop from the fertilized ovary of a tomato flower and contain seeds within their flesh. So, the next time you bite into a juicy tomato, remember that you’re enjoying a delicious fruit masquerading as a vegetable!

  1. The Tomato’s Colourful Past

In centuries past, tomatoes were regarded with suspicion and fear in certain regions of the world. This distrust stemmed from their physical resemblance to the highly toxic plant known as deadly nightshade, which belongs to the same botanical family as tomatoes. As a result, tomatoes were shunned as a culinary ingredient in many European countries, including England and parts of Italy. However, perceptions began to shift in the 18th century, thanks in part to the efforts of pioneering individuals such as Thomas Jefferson, who cultivated tomatoes in his garden and introduced them to the American culinary landscape. Today, tomatoes are celebrated worldwide for their flavour and versatility – which we’re certainly glad about!

  1. A Fruit of Many Colours

While the classic red tomato may be the most familiar variety, tomatoes come in a mix of colours, shapes, and sizes. From golden yellows and vibrant oranges to deep purples and striped patterns, heirloom tomatoes offer a visual feast for the eyes. These heirloom varieties, prized for their diverse flavours and unique characteristics, have experienced a resurgence in popularity among home gardeners and chefs in recent years.

Which fact were you most surprised by? Let us know!

This Tomato and Spinach Frittata is a delightful breakfast option that combines the flavours of ripe tomatoes and fresh spinach. With the creamy texture of eggs and melted mozzarella cheese, each bite is a burst of flavour and nutrition. Enjoy this frittata as a satisfying start to your day, whether served hot out of the oven or enjoyed as leftovers for a quick and easy breakfast on-the-go.


  •       6 large eggs
  •       1/4 cup milk
  •       1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  •       1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  •       1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  •       2 cloves garlic, minced
  •       1 tablespoon olive oil
  •       Salt and pepper to taste
  •       Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)


Step 1 – Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 190°C.

Step 2 – Prepare the Ingredients:

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3 – Sauté the Vegetables:

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and chopped spinach to the skillet and cook until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes soften, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 4 – Assemble the Frittata:

Spread the sautéed vegetables evenly in the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, ensuring they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.

Step 5 – Bake the Frittata:

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the top is lightly golden brown.

Step 6 – Serve:

Once the frittata is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if wanted. Slice into wedges and serve warm as a delicious and nutritious breakfast dish.

Tomatoes, with their vibrant colours and succulent taste, have woven themselves into a range of culinary delights around the world. Yet, their journey from wild plants to kitchen staples is a story rich with intrigue and discovery. Let’s delve into three pivotal points in the history of tomatoes:

  1. Ancient Origins: From the Andes to Europe

The story of tomatoes begins in the Andes Mountains of South America, where wild tomato species first emerged over 2,000 years ago. Indigenous peoples of the region, such as the Aztecs and Incas, cultivated and consumed these small, wild fruits, recognizing their culinary potential. Following the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 16th century, explorers brought tomatoes back to Europe, where they quickly gained popularity as ornamental plants. Initially regarded with suspicion due to their resemblance to deadly nightshade, tomatoes gradually earned acceptance as a flavourful addition to European cuisine.

  1. Renaissance Rediscovery: Tomatoes Conquer Italian Cuisine

During the Renaissance period in Italy, tomatoes underwent a transformation, evolving from mere decorative plants to culinary stars. Italian chefs embraced tomatoes as versatile ingredients, incorporating them into sauces, soups, and pasta dishes. One of the most iconic tomato-based creations to emerge during this time was the beloved Neapolitan pizza, which featured tomatoes as a central component. As tomatoes gained prominence in Italian cuisine, their popularity spread across Europe and eventually reached distant shores, influencing culinary traditions around the globe.

  1. Modern Cultivation and Global Impact

In the 19th and 20th centuries, advances in agricultural technology and transportation facilitated the widespread cultivation and distribution of tomatoes on a global scale. The development of hybrid tomato varieties with desirable traits, such as disease resistance and uniform ripening, revolutionized tomato farming practices, leading to increased yields and improved quality. Today, tomatoes are cultivated in diverse climates and regions worldwide, from sun-drenched Mediterranean coastlines to sprawling greenhouse complexes in northern latitudes. Their versatility in the kitchen—from fresh salads to rich sauces—continues to captivate chefs and home cooks alike, cementing their status as an indispensable ingredient in cuisines across cultures.

The history of tomatoes is a testament to the popularity of these vibrant and versatile fruits and their transformative journey from wild plants to culinary staples. From their ancient origins in the Andes to their modern-day global cultivation, tomatoes have left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape, enriching dishes with their flavour, colour, and nutritional value. 

This Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta with Fresh Basil is a delightful tomato-based evening meal that celebrates the simplicity and richness of fresh ingredients. Perfect for a cosy night in, this dish offers a burst of flavour with every bite, making it a comforting and satisfying choice for any occasion.


  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz pasta (spaghetti or your choice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)


Step 1 – Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Step 2 – Prepare the Tomatoes:

In a baking dish, toss the halved cherry tomatoes with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well coated.

Step 3 – Roast the Tomatoes:

Spread the tomatoes out evenly in the baking dish. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized.

Step 4 – Cook the Pasta:

While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta cooking water.

Step 5 – Combine Pasta and Tomatoes:

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to a large bowl. Add the roasted tomatoes and any juices from the baking dish. Toss gently to combine.

Step 6 – Finish with Fresh Basil:

Add torn fresh basil leaves to the pasta and tomatoes. Toss again to distribute the basil throughout the dish.