slow-roasted tomato & ricotta bruschetta

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Slow-roasted tomato & ricotta bruschetta by Scrummy Lane

For years I shared an apartment in Greece with my wonderful friend Sarah. If the walls had had ears, they could probably write a book or two about the conversations we had. We cooked and giggled and gossiped and stayed up far too late watching episode after episode of whatever TV series we were hooked on at the time (Alias or 24, anyone? Yes, it was that long ago!) We had so much fun, but one thing I realised pretty quickly was that it wasn’t a good idea to talk about anything I was even a bit concerned about at night.

A typical such not-a-good-idea conversation would go something like this. Me: ‘Oh no, I’ve got to go to the tax office tomorrow before work. Oh my goodness, I’m going to be tired. I bet there’ll be a really long queue and I’ll be late for work.’ Sarah: ‘Oh no, don’t be silly. It’ll be fine.’ Me: ‘I don’t think so. Everyone’s going to start pushing and shoving and I might not have all the papers they need. Then I’ll have to go again and that’ll be awful, too.’ And so we went on. As far as I was concerned, it was ALL bad!

In the morning, the glass would be half full again and I’d wonder why I’d freaked out so much over such a tiny little thing as having to go to the tax office (in Greece, that usually is a pretty frightful experience, but still, in the grand scheme of things it was nothing, let’s face it). I still have a tendency to react like this (< Mr. Scrummy nodding in the background), so now I try to follow my self-imposed ‘rule’ about not dealing with tricky things when I’m tired. This doesn’t always work, though. Take a few days ago when I decided to try making some veggie burgers. Basically, they didn’t turn out how I was hoping. OK, no big deal really, but I was left feeling a bit frustrated about all the ingredients I’d bought and lugged home from the shops on foot and all the time I’d spent trying to create these burgers that had been so great in my mind.

Afterwards, Mr. Scrummy and I went for a little walk and, tired, I started to grumble and worry aloud about all sorts of things (Me: ‘Now I need to find another recipe to post tomorrow. I can’t find any ricotta cheese. We don’t have a car to go and look for some. How come we can’t just get somewhere to live and be normal?’ etc. etc. etc.) Everything was baaaaad, just like in my midnight conversations with my friend.

Slow-roasted tomato & ricotta bruschetta by Scrummy Lane

Oh dear. Time to chill out and make something simple that I knew couldn’t really fail. Enter these slow-roasted tomato and ricotta bruschetta, the recipe for which I shamelessly barely adapted from the latest issue of the UK Delicious magazine where I always seem to find a great recipe in a pinch. To make these I knew I wouldn’t have to struggle too much to manage without my favourite appliances or find everything in a kitchen not my own; just because it was so simple.

a variety of small tomatoesroasted tomatoesroasted tomatoes for bruschetta

So, so simple, in fact. Just toss a selection of mini tomatoes (different colours, if you can find them) with good quality olive oil, crushed garlic, fennel seeds and a little sugar, then slow roast for an hour. Char-grill slices of crusty bread on a griddle pan such as this one, then top with a mixture of ricotta and lemon zest followed by the beautifully sweet and sticky tomatoes and some fresh basil leaves. Honestly, one of the most delicious little snacks I’ve had in ages. And I even had this ‘little helper’ while I was taking my photos:

Nelson the cat!

My parents’ cat Nelson ‘lending a paw’

Slow-roasted tomato & ricotta bruschetta by Scrummy Lane

So how do you react when things don’t go according to plan? Do you freak out a bit like me (especially when tired!) or take it all in your stride? If you’re in the second group, give me some lessons … please!

Oh, and I just joined Instagram (= addictive already) so do follow me if you feel so inclined. Thank you!

slow-roasted tomato & ricotta bruschetta

Serving size: Serves 4 as an appetizer

Char-grilled fresh crusty bread topped with lemony ricotta and sticky slow-roasted baby tomatoes. A beautifully tasty little snack!
  • about 10 ounces/300 grams mixed baby tomatoes (I used a pack of 3 different types)
  • 1 fl. ounce/30 ml extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • about 100 grams ricotta cheese
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 4 slices of fresh crusty bread (I used sourdough)
  • fresh basil (to serve)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300F/150C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the tomatoes, oil, garlic & fennel in a bowl and toss to combine, then tip out onto the baking tray and bake for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the lemon zest into the ricotta. After the tomatoes are done (they should be golden and sticky), set them aside to cool a little while you char-grill the bread on both sides on a hot griddle pan.
  3. Spread the toasts with the lemony ricotta, spoon over the tomatoes and juices (pour and scrape the juices off the baking tray and onto the toasts) and scatter each with a few of the basil leaves. Lastly, grind over plenty of salt and a little pepper, drizzle over a little more olive oil and serve. Mmmm!
Barely adapted from ‘slow-roast confit tomato and ricotta crostini’ from UK Delicious magagine (June 2014 edition). Thank you for the inspiration!

You could make this with a different soft cheese such as goat’s cheese if you like. Or you could spread your toasts with a good quality pesto instead of cheese if you want to go dairy-free or vegan.

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  1. says

    Helen, je veux le même toast pour midi! Elle est si appétissant, j’adore ces types des recettes, facile à réaliser et tellement bon!
    Je suis plutôt dans le premier group, quand je suis fatiguée, je vois tout en noir et pleins des recettes part à la poubelle! Malheureusement la vie est comme ça mais c’est tellement bien quand on réussir!
    Le chat de tes parents et très mignon!
    Je te suis déjà en Facebook! pour l’instant je n’est pas de instagram mais je voulais me mètre! C’est difficile?

    • says

      Eva, j’ai juste commence avec Instagram and c’est tres facile. Le seule ‘probleme’, c’est qu’on a besoin d’un portable ‘Android’ pour downloader le ‘app’ … et, ca y est!
      Je suis tres heureuse que je suis pas la seule qui vois tout en noir parfois! :-) Mais tu as raison, c’est tellement mieux quand on reussit enfin!
      Je te souhaite une tres bonne journee (et tres bon dejeuner en plus!) :-)

  2. says

    Helen, these look delicious, as usual. What else would I expect from you!

    Now I’ve made variations of this but never with lemony ricotta. You threw me for a loop with a lemony ricotta, I’m sitting here trying to think about how that would taste =)

    Crusty bread + roasted tomatoes + cheese = pure joy.

    I really appreciate all the pretty colored tomatoes. Just threw in some yellow cherry tomatoes in my garden. Can’t wait to try this when they come to fruition.

    And yes, I totally stress too! Wake up at usually 2 or 3 in the morning stressing because the cat is sneezing too much or something equally ridiculous and then can’t fall back asleep.

    • says

      Well, I promise you, Laura, the ricotta tastes great with the lemon zest in it! You could easily leave that out though if you weren’t sure, of course. How lovely that you’re growing some yellow cherry tomatoes! I felt really lucky to find this selection of tomatoes that I used. The orange ones just seemed to take the whole dish up a level in the ‘prettiness’ department.
      Now I’m imagining your cat sneezing and sneezing and sneezing … ! 😉

  3. says

    Oh my gosh, I totally remember Alias! Blast from the past! I also get a little worked up over things, particularly when I’m over-tired (which is often!). I can’t cope without sleep! I’ve had times where I’ve wanted to blog something, then it SUCKED, and then I have no idea what to post… but then magic things come out of that suckiness! Like these amazing looking roasted tomato bruchetta!!! I love oven-roasted tomatoes more than you can even imagine. So. Good. I also love your peppermill more than you can even imagine!

    Once for a freelance recipe, I had to make a giant torte about 5 times, and felt so discouraged, like I was wasting all of my money on ingredients and time on this thing. I took breaks in-between and went for a walk with my dog. It really helped to clear my mind and approach the situation with new eyes. It eventually turned out, luckily! But other than that, I don’t have any advice. I think bruschetta is probably the answer to all of life’s problems though! 😉

    • says

      I wish that peppermill was mine, Allison (it’s actually my parents’) but yes, isn’t it great?! I’m glad I’m not the only one around here old enough to remember Alias. I LOVED Sydney and totally wanted to be her! (maybe apart from the part right in the first episode where she gets her teeth pulled out!)
      I certainly feel better about my ONE veggie burger disaster now that I’ve read this story about your torte! Oh my goodness, I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d feel about making something five times!
      So glad you like the bruschetta. I figured that something so simple just couldn’t go wrong, and I was right. 😉

  4. says

    This looks amazing! Our farmers market (finally!) opens this weekend, I can’t wait to get some beautiful fresh tomatoes to make this! And I am exactly like you, I tend to look at the negative side of things at night too. My mom would always say “Don’t worry, things will look better in the morning” and more often than not, she was exactly right!

    • says

      Freshly-picked farmer’s market tomatoes would be perfect for this, Annie. I hope you enjoy it – I will definitely be making it again as it tastes so so good for the amount of work you have to put in i.e. hardly any!
      Your mom was definitely right about things always looking better in the morning. I just need to remember that more often!

  5. says

    You said it yourself, in the grand scheme of things… My motto always is, it’s not the end of the world. Being anxious or nervous or worried doesn’t make anything better, so you might as well be happy and positive. But you do sound like a very passionate young lady! And those bruschetta are absolutely beautiful!!!

    • says

      Hello, Mimi! That’s a great motto and one that I need to get into the habit of remembering. You are so right that worry and anxiety don’t change a thing other than making you miserable. So glad you like the bruschetta!

  6. says

    Yes, I do freak out a bit and I have to remind myself to take a deep breath, focus, and get it done! Sometimes I just over think things, but the simplest things are often the best. This bruschetta looks rustic and fresh, and the colors are gorgeous! I would just love a plateful of this today! :)

    • says

      I’m the queen of over-thinking, Marcie! But that’s good advice to just focus and get it done. I find that the thought of something is nearly always much worse than the reality, anyway. So glad you like the bruschetta. It was absolutely delicious, I have to say, and I’ll definitely be making it again soon.

    • says

      This cat is so cute, Pamela. He ‘waits’ on the driveway for my parents to come home every day. He’s nearly 18 years old as well!

  7. says

    Tomatoes and cheese! Perfect summer topping for bread :)
    Your parents’ cat is adorable. What a cute face <3

  8. says

    I can totally relate Helen! I can get the same way sometimes, especially on Sunday nights. I try and allow myself just 5 minutes of “self pity”, then I let it go and try and find the bright side of things.

    These ricotta and slow roasted tomato bruschetta sounds amazing! Perfect summer time appetizer. I could easily turn this into a meal paired with some salad. Yum!

    • says

      What a great plan … a ‘5-minute only’ self-pity party! Love it!
      I definitely think you could make this into a meal with a salad. Now I’m even thinking you could add a little prosciutto or bacon … mmmm!

  9. says

    Oh, I love bruschetta! And the oven roasted tomatoes must be so sweet and tasty, I’m getting really hungry actually! :)
    And I think everybody knows this view on things when they are tired… Always not that bad in the morning..

    • says

      Yes, it’s a cliche, isn’t it, that things ‘will be better in the morning’, but it’s so true! So glad you like the bruschetta – it was definitely a keeper as far as I’m concerned.

    • says

      Yes, thank goodness for inspiration like that sometimes! These are the perfect starter (you can even make the tomatoes ahead for a dinner party). I’ll definitely be making them again!

  10. says

    My first thought when I saw these was that they would be so perfect for a summer dinner party. Then I said maybe I should make them without a crowd because I’m pretty sure I’d devour all of the servings myself! Love those roasted tomatoes and the simplicity of this recipe, Helen! I can just about taste that char-grilled bread. Pinning!

    • says

      Thanks for pinning, Alyssa! You’re right, these would be great for a summer dinner party! You can even make the tomatoes ahead as they don’t have to be warm. Good idea to ‘practice’ first without your dinner guests, though. You need to make doubly sure that they taste OK, after all!

  11. says

    What a lovely recipe Helen, your tomatoes look wonderful. My husband is the easy going one, and I am the worrier and think about everything. he is good for me in that way.

    • says

      That’s great, Cheri. My husband is the same – a lot less ‘flappable’ than I am. It would be a nightmare if we both had a tendency to flap! Glad you like the tomatoes – they tasted incredible; all sweet and sticky and juicy.

  12. says

    First of all, I LOVE Nelson!! Did you see that one coming?! ha! Secondly, these bruschetta are totally speaking to me! Roasted cherry tomatoes are my favorites and I want to put them on everything! I just made a pizza very similar to this that I will be posting soon. We are on the same page :)

    My husband is always the stressed out one in the family and I’m always having to come to his rescue. Thankfully, I don’t seem to get stressed very easily, but I can get very frustrated when a recipe doesn’t come out the first time. It is so hard when you have just spent a bunch of money on ingredients AND you were planning to post it the next day. I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you, but I usually do the same as you and come up with a easy and foolproof recipe that I know will taste great. I’ve been dreaming about coming up with a veggie burger recipe, but am not looking forward to testing a bunch of them, so I haven’t tackled it yet. I do feel like I learn even more about cooking every time I do have a flop though, so I guess that is good!

    • says

      You’re totally right that our ‘flops’ teach us the most. I’m learning so much! The key I think is to ‘get ahead’ with 2 or 3 recipes in hand, but that isn’t always possible for me. I actually finally got the veggie burger right and will be posting it soon.
      P.S. Something similar to this bruschetta on a pizza sounds fabulous – can’t wait to see your recipe!

  13. says

    I think you’re right, it depends on how tired I am! If I am fine then I take it in my stride but otherwise I freak out just a little bit too much! I was at the airport the other day and we couldn’t find our itinerary and I couldn’t remember where I put it and I started panicking!

    • says

      That’s the worst – not being able to find important things. I do that all the time, have my little panic, find whatever it is I’ve lost and then all is fine again. Exhausting, though! I need to work on my breathing techniques!

  14. says

    Helen, I am definitely craving these bruschetta with lemon-ricotta and slow-roasted tomatoes! Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best. Because really, pine nuts or crab meat or capers are not going to make this better! It’s perfect just the way it is. I’ve had so many food fails, in fact I’ll email you a picture of a recent one. It’s so frustrating. some days I get over it and move on, and some days it just ruins the entire day. I try to take it in stride, but that is much easier if I have a Plan B in place or other ideas. Sometimes I was planning on cooking more than one thing in a day anyway, so I just move on to the next. But sometimes it just destroys my entire mojo. The best thing to do is have a friend who can listen, preferably a blogger friend (since my husband is not as good at listening to these problems, not sure about Mr. Scrummy). I’d like to apply for the job of being your sounding board! :) By the way, how did you finally end up locating the ricotta? And I’m following you on IG! :)

    • says

      Hi, Meggan! I suppose food fails are part of ‘the job’ when you’re a food blogger, and even necessary really. Just hard when you only have limited time and money! (and you don’t have your own kitchen and are living out of a suitcase!) You’re right about having a plan B – in an ideal world that’s the best situation. Meggan, the ‘sounding board’ job is yours! I’m afraid the pay isn’t so good, but it’ll look great on the CV! 😉 Oh, and I found the ricotta at a huge supermarket the day after, finally. Disaster averted!
      P.S. Thanks for the follow on IG. Just followed you too!

  15. says

    Okay, Helen…I’m so glad you discovered my blog so that I could discover yours! Gorgeous photos, my mouth is watering over this recipe, and I can relate to your story as I tend to worry/blow things out of proportion in my mind, too. :) Also, the picture of your kitty sitting on your feet made me melt…I miss having a cat!

    I’m excited to look around further when I have a bit more time. Hope you’re having a great week!

    • says

      Samantha, thank you so much for passing by and taking a look … and saying such lovely things! I’m looking forward to snooping around your blog a little more, too – I LOVED your post yesterday about your feelings after one year blogging. :-)
      P.S. Nelson is actually my parents’ cat – he’s got such a lovely nature. The only problem is that he likes people so much that he tries to climb up them and digs his claws into their legs. Ouch!

  16. says

    OMG!!!!! I can COMPLETELY relate to every single thing you’ve said! I tend to get tooo stressed far too quickly!!!! Recipe fail? Drown in my own tears and complain non-stop about how things never work out and take the topic on a completely different tangent! It annoys my mum sooooo much! Maybe it’s because we had a vision of how we wanted the things to be but got disappointed when they didn’t! Sometimes, I really think that all the freaking out is not needed but then I was TIRED AND HUNGRY so maybe the freaking out is valid??! 😉 This bruschetta looks AMAZING!!!!! I love How simple yet delicious this is and can be perfect for dinner or afternoon snack! Oh and btw, Nelson is suchhhhhhh a SWEETHEART! <3

    • says

      Nelson is a cutie, isn’t he? Can you believe he’s 18 years old? That’s a great point about having too much of a fixed idea about how things should be … then we get disappointed afterwards. Note to self: ‘go with the flow’ more! So happy that you like the bruschetta … definitely simple but I’d say good enough for a light dinner!

  17. says

    Really love the simplicity and flavours of this, Helen. You’re so right – perfect treat for night’s when life gets between you and the kitchen…

    • says

      Isn’t he a cutie!! My parents have had him for almost 18 years and he still isn’t really showing any signs of old age. So glad you like the bruschetta. You’re right, it was just the business after a ‘hassle-y’ day!

    • says

      Wow, what a compliment! If you knew how little I know you might change your mind about that! All I really do is find a bright, shady spot, set up a few props, try to keep my camera (a Canon SLR, but not really an expensive one) as still as possible and click away. I take LOTS of photos and pick what I consider to be the best. I know I still have a lot to learn and some shoots turn out better than others, but I have picked up a few tips along the way so if you ever want to email me to ask anything then you would be very welcome to! :-)

    • says

      Hi, Bintu. I wish! I would love to, but unfortunately I’m flying to Australia this weekend. Hopefully we can meet there next year! Hope you have a great time!

  18. says

    What a great looking little snack / appetizer! I have a bunch of ricotta leftover right now – I need to put it to use!

    haha I get so upset when things don’t go according to plan : ) It’s bad – but I’m working on it!

    • says

      Do try this with your ricotta, Ashley. I actually used my leftovers up the next morning and added an egg, which was so so good as well. :-)

  19. says

    I think you came up with the perfect recipe, Helen! And look at that cat, so adorable! Bruschetta is one my favorite appetizers, but I’m never tried making with ricotta. Sounds so much better, I will definitely have to try this!

    • says

      This was actually the first time I’d made bruschetta at home, but it won’t be the last. Loved this, and so glad you like it, too. Do try it with the ricotta – it goes so well.

  20. says

    Helen, these look beautiful. I would love to have some of these and a nice glass of wine 😀
    And, yes I am a freak out about everything. When I get in that mode, it’s better to get out of my way because then I just can’t stop. Haha

    • says

      I know what you mean. I realise how illogical and annoying I am when I start worrying about something, but it’s hard to behave like a happy-go-lucky person when that’s not really who you are. You’re right, I think these would go well with a nice glass of wine!

  21. says

    I am kinda the same way when it comes to thinking about stuff at night. If I think about anything that is somewhat worrying me, I will not sleep good at all. And I am not a good sleeper anyways! Worrying just makes it worse. Boo.

    But enough about worrying. This bruschetta looks amazing, Helen! I’m totally swooning over the tomatoes! YUM!

    • says

      Worrying is never a good idea. The problem is, how to stop?! Oh well, at least we have all sorts of nice food to make us feel better. So glad you like this bruschetta, Julie. Thanks for the lovely compliments!

  22. says

    I’m quite a worrier also, and some days I really need to tell myself to take a chill pill! Nothing like simple meals like this to talk you down. Love this bruschetta topping!

    • says

      Yes, I don’t think there’s much in life that some nice food can’t make feel at least a lot better! So glad you like this, Joanne!

  23. says

    Bruschetta, my favourite appetiser! I had this for dinner tonight! Yours looks so delicious and the ricotta must add such a delicious touch. Re your question about things going a bit haywire, it’s totally human to freak out a bit especially when you’re tired! I tend to snap out of it after rationalising that it’s not all that bad, and trust me you did a great job here!

    • says

      The success of this bruschetta is making me think that I should experiment with some different types. I think it would be hard to go wrong. Thanks for saying I did a great job, Jessica! :-)

  24. says

    I can’t give you lessons here coz I am the same. Big worrier and just lose hours of sleep thinking of things :(

    I just love how simple and fresh this recipe is! I just followed you on IG and can’t wait to see more behind the scenes.

    • says

      Thanks for following me on IG, Zainab … so appreciate the support! 😉 Just followed you back! I think IG is quickly going to become my favourite SM. Oh dear, I feel an addiction coming on!
      So glad you like the recipe! :-)

  25. says

    Oh, man. I LOVE bruschetta so much but somehow never get around to making it as often as I’d like. I’m so trying this awesome-looking bruschetta this summer with my fresh garden tomatoes! Gorgeous photos! :) Pinned.

    • says

      Hi, Sarah, so happy that you passed by! Please do try this with your home-grown tomatoes. I think it would work even with larger tomatoes (just chop them before roasting). Thanks for the compliment on the photos and also for the pin!

    • says

      You’re right, the flavour was actually really intense, almost like sundried tomatoes. It tasted delicious, I have to say, and so so easy as well, which is the best part. So glad you like this!

  26. says

    Bread, cheese and tomatoes – it doesn’t really get better than that! Gorgeous photos and gorgeous cat too.

    I’m a bit like you, the more tired I am then the more I stress out over really small things. I would like to say that I calmly sort things out and decide to look at things again the next day, instead I tend to strop around and eat far too much chocolate or cake!

    • says

      Well, let’s be honest, I sometimes do that, too! (don’t need too much of an excuse to eat chocolate!) Glad you like the recipe, Sian. As far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely a keeper!

  27. says

    Love this! You had me at Greece and 24. From there I was hooked and I just so happen to love bruschetta. Thank you for sharing a story about yourself along with this recipe!


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