A Gift from Alison

I wanted to share with you one of the foodie gifts I was kindly presented with at Christmas. A jar of the most beautifully tempting sun-dried tomatoes.

Alison and I had a preserving conversation one day in the locker room at work. I was wondering what delights she was making for gifts this time and lo and behold next day I was presented with a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. They just looked so gorgeous nestled in the jar with the rosemary and garlic cloves, that I wanted to know her secret. So here it is ......

Alison's Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, infused with Fresh Rosemary and Garlic


good quality, extra-virgin olive oil
sun-dried tomatoes
fresh rosemary
fresh garlic bulbs
bay leaves (optional)

This makes a lovely gift and is easy to make, just start planning well in advance, as you need to let the flavours infuse for a couple of months! An ideal addition to pasta dishes, these flavoursome tomatoes will also complement your cheeseboard selection and are perfect with olives and antipasto.

Firstly, you need to shop around to purchase quantities of sun-dried tomatoes - they can be very expensive if purchased in small amounts from your local deli or supermarket. This year I found that the 'Julian Graves' shops had a BOGOF, (Buy-one-get-one-free!), deal on large bags of good quality sun-dried tomatoes.

Make sure you have clean, scrubbed glass jars at the ready! I collect these all year round, ensuring a plentiful supply in Autumn, when it's time to make the Christmas goodies! It's also a good way of recycling your empty jars - let nothing go to waste!

The best quality extra-virgin olive oil you can afford, is another essential purchase - try Aldi's and Lidl on the high street, or a cash and carry if you have a ticket - or know someone who does! Buy in bulk....what you don't use for bottling, you can use for cooking or concocting tasty salad dressings.

Decide in advance how many jars of tomatoes you would like to make up.....ensure you buy enough extra-virgin olive oil and packs of tomatoes to fill them up.

Take your clean, dry jars and fill half-full of the olive oil. Then place sprigs of fresh rosemary in the jar, round the sides, plus several cloves of peeled fresh garlic. Bay leaves add flavour and look pretty too. Then pop the sun dried tomatoes into the centre of the jar - if they are whole, you may wish to cut them in half to make it easier to layer them up. Then top up with more olive oil to within a centimetre or so of the lid - make sure the contents are completely covered! Make sure too that the lid is screwed on tightly - leave in a cool dark place to infuse........

As the rosemary and garlic are fresh, they won't last for ever.....if you see the colours turning dark, it is time to remove them.....although they will have done their job by then! Simply filter through a sieve and throw out. You can replace them if you like, for added flavour, but that's not essential.

Label and date your jars, listing all the ingredients too. You can make them pretty by using raffia, tinsel or off-cuts of material to cover the lids. Most of all, keep some for yourself and Enjoy!!

Thank you Alison, I certainly will! They look and smell divine!

I am thinking of whizzing them up with the oil into a dressing to drip over bruschetta, to dress salads, pasta and anything else I can think of. Just imagine dipping crusty bread into this luscious dressing as an appetiser or drizzling some on to some soup just before you serve it. Yum!

Update: If you would like to dry your own tomatoes check out Andrea's dehydrator method or Kalyn's slow roasted tomatoes which can be cooked in the oven.

Update Number Two: Thanks to Jo over at The Adventures of Kitchen Girl for giving me a '2008 Fabulous Food Blogger Award'. I was late picking it up, but it was a lovely belated Christmas gift :)


  1. Wonderful! I, unfortunately, can't stand sun-dried tomatoes. Really wish I liked them though as these look beautiful.

  2. That's a great shame Wendy! What is it you don't like, is it the texture, the taste or do you prefer tomatoes fresh? I am intrigued.

  3. This is exquisite. I have several bagfuls of dried tomatoes from my garden that we love to use all winter. They add such an intense burst of flavor. I've never jarred them in this way. Hmmm...

  4. I can't believe how easy this is! do you dry your tomatoes? I'd love to start on this next August for Christmas.

  5. Hi Andrea, it sounds like you are all set up for jarring some tomatoes. I too would like to know how you dry them. Is it a slow dry in the oven?

    Something to write on the calendar Jinx, although it sounds like you are way more orginised than me, I never remember to start preserving until October or even November.

  6. I have just popped over to Andrea's blog to find out her secret to drying tomatoes. It appears that a food dehydrator is the answer. Here is the post.

  7. These are the perfect gift for a foodie Holler!!

  8. I have to agree Val, I really appreciated being given them!

  9. this looks like such a beautiful present - and such a yummy one too

  10. I can eat them but I don't like them. It's the taste. The initial sweetness is nice but there is an oddly dry, bitter taste afterwards that I don't like at all.

  11. And the smell is gorgeous Johanna :)

    Hi Wendy, yeah I know what you mean, but I don't mind that part. I think it is the combination of that with the olive oil that I like.

  12. I am crazy for sun dried tomatoes-I could eat a whole jar of these in one sitting. I love the idea of doing it yourself and giving it as gifts too! :)

  13. I know Lorraine, I was really chuffed to be presented with a jar. I like sun-dried tomaotes in a pasta salad with mozzarella, basil and pesto. It is my summer favourite.

  14. Great idea, Holler! What lovely gifts these could make! I'm going to file it in my brain and see if I can remember to give it a try later this year.

  15. I could never to that successfully Vegwife, I have to make a list for everything!

  16. I love sundried tomatoes - I like them finely chopped and scattered over a salad or chopped and stirred through mash potato.

  17. I adore sun dried toms. Great recipe ,have bookmarked

  18. Hi CC, nice idea for mashed potatoes :)

    Thanks Beth, I take no credit at all.

  19. Oh wow! I can just imagine how luscious they taste!

  20. There's nothing I love more than conversations that revolve around food when in the locker room at work! Only thing I really miss about working outside of home...

    Happy New Year, Holler. May it be everything you wish for and more.

  21. I always wanted to make my own dried tomatoes, maybe I'll save this idea for the summer time.
    Tx for sharing!

  22. Those look positively gorgeous. What a generous gift... and I'll bet these are even tastier with the rosemary garlic combo!

  23. I think I agree with you - keeping it simple and just whizzing them up so all those lovely flavours can come through sounds like a great idea.

    Can I join you?!

    Happy New Year, Holler!

  24. i'm salivating. it looks so beautiful in the jar with its handwritten label, too. i do have some cherry tomatoes that i dried back when tomatoes were in season. this looks like a beautiful way to marinate them. thank you so much! cannot wait to explore your blog some more.

  25. It sounds yummy! I think it'd work with the non-sun-dried kind of tomatoes, too - as in, the kind done in your own dehydrator, from regular tomatoes. Of course, if it's a "British Tomato" then it might not be a good idea. ;)

    (Complete aside: the first picture caused me to do a double-take, 'cause it looked like something you'd see ... elsewhere. Like, in a laboratory or something.)

  26. I adore sun-dried tomatoes. Lovely preparation Holler.

  27. Hi Astra, they are just a great combination of flavours.

    Happy New Year Lucy! You probably won't be surprised to hear that we have a lot of food related conversations at work.

    I hope you do give it a try Rita :)

    It is good Lo and I am thinking of trying it drizzled over potatoes next.

    Happy New Year Spaghetti! Be sure to drop by if you are around this way :)

    Nice to meet you Cate! I just popped over to your blog and I love the sound of your White Hot Chocolate Spiced with Cardamom :)

    I see what you mean Davimack, if must have been the extreme close-p! They can be a bit mystifying :)

    Thanks Lisa :)

  28. I have dehydrated my own tomatoes from my garden, and they got so brittle that putting them in a nice olive oil just turned them into baco-bits. I like plump ,malleable dried tomatoes. I use them as an ingredient in a cheese sauce over broccoli or Brussel sprouts or cauliflower. To be a good chef, you have to guage the palate of who is going to eat it! I am always adjusting for my wife's biochemistry, which means I have to figure out what she ate last!

  29. You are making me hungry with your list of meals Elessar!


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