Tomato-free for one month

Since the realization after the IW Festival that tomatoes are probably doing me no good, I haven’t touched them. It has been hard, as tomato-based sauces feature highly in my preferred Italian and Indian recipes, but the results have been striking. The cracked skin on my palms has healed over, and while still not soft and lovely (eczematic skin never seems to heal neatly), it’s so much better than it was a month ago that I really feel quite chipper. I still owe my relief to Glaxo for producing Betnovate and to Steifel for Oilatum Cream, but I have hopes that I can cut down on the former, because it’s the steroid that one step away from the ultimate and final step of Dermovate (there is nothing stronger).

So how have I coped food-wise? Well pesto (I make it without parmesan) or roasted peppers have taken the place of tomatoes as a base sauce for pasta or pizzas. I’m still suspicious of peppers, but excluding them would mean abandoning the fiery sensation of chilli for ever. As this year I’m growing my own habanero, jalapeno and Scotch bonnet chillis, an allergy to peppers would make my greenhouse redundant. And while I can go tomato-free and dairy-free, chilli-free might be a step too far.

“She who is worshipped” bought home lamb mince, hoping for the delicate minced lamb curry that we like so much. I turned it into sheek kebabs, flavoured with ginger, green garlic, fresh and ground coriander and cumin, and cooked on a steel skewer over a barbecue. No tomatoes were harmed in the making of this dish.

I still have to work round other dishes. A tomato-free and dairy-free lasagne may be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. And I suspect Chinese and Thai dishes may start to predominate in the kitchen – but that will be no loss.


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