Emergency tomato & cheese bread

TomatoCheeseBread © J Horak-Druiff 2009

Here’s a question for you:  if you had to go into a totally empty kitchen, save for appliances, and cook and serve a lunch for 4 people using only food and equipment that you’d brought with you, how many items would be on your packing list?  Remember, you’d have to pack plates, glasses, knives, spices, oil, salt – everything you take for granted in your normal kitchen.

Any guesses?

Well, I make it about 47.  In fact, 48 if you count the can opener that we forgot.  Oh no, actually 49 if you count that pesky second clove of garlic, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Let’s call it a round fifty then, shall we?

The reason why I can come up with such a precise figure is because this is exactly what we did on Sunday.  We picked our friends up from the station, we packed everything that we’d need for lunch out of our current kitchen, and then we drove the 500 metres or so to our new house (as yet unoccupied) and made lunch for our friends there.  So there you have it – the secret is out.  The Cooksister has a new home!

Here’s another little secret.  In less than a week, I will have been blogging for a terrifying five years.  In that time, I have blogged some restaurant meals and some meals cooked in other people’s houses, but the vast majority of all the recipes you’ve seen on Cooksister have been cooked in this kitchen (no, there is no hidden pantry/scullery/trapdoor – that really is all the space I have):


An ancient fridge and a minature electric cooker.  So little worktop space it’s laughable, not helped by the fact that my spice collection is steadily colonising the available space!  One tiny corner cupboard for groceries (hence the heaving shelves!!).  Vegetables and pasta crammed into a teensy vegetable rack; one cupboard for plates; and one for pyrex & baking.  And that’s it!!

Now, having seen the kitchen that I have been too embarrassed to show you all these years, can you imagine how it feels for me to walk into the kitchen below and know that it’s mine!


Let’s see… we have granite worktops, LOADS of cupboards, a double eye-level oven, a convection microwave, a 5-plate gas hob with an extractor fan, a fridge/freezer, a separate freezer, a dishwasher and… a built-in coffee machine!!  It’s also HUGE by English standards.  Whereas in the current kitchen, people have to sit on the stairs or loiter by the front door if they want to speak to me in the kitchen as there’s no space for them to join me, I remarked on Sunday that “hey – there are FOUR people in the kitchen at once – and I can’t touch any of them from where I’m standing!!”   I keep thinking that I’m dreaming and that I will wake up and find it’s all been a figment of my imagination.

And when I’m done enjoying myself cooking in the kitchem I stroll through the door next to the coffee machine to emerge into my new dining room:


I am in love.

So what does one make as an inaugural meal in this fabulous kitchen (bearing in mind the abovementioned feat of having to pack everything you need from your old kitchen)??  Would it be Chateaubriand? Maybe some caviar?  A Grand Marinier soufflé?

Umm, no.  It  was spaghetti Bolognese with bread and a big green salad, of course, followed by a store-cupboard version of my caramelised nectarines and cherries dessert, using canned peach slices and glacé cherries with toasted almonds and whipped cream:

PeachesPanWeb PeachesBowlWeb

Which brings me to the title of the post.  The Bolognese sauce was bubbling away on the stove.  The pasta had just gone into the pot.  The salad was made. I had sliced up the small foot-long baguette in preparation for making garlic bread when… I realised that I did not have any garlic.  I tried to persuade Nick to go and fetch me another one from the old house, but seeing as he had already had to go back and fetch the can opener, no dice.  What to do??  Casting a quick, panicky eye around the kitchen I saw the tube of tomato paste and a hunk of cheddar… and suddenly an idea took root:  cheesy tomato bread.  It went down so well that I think our guests will be specifically requesting it in future.

And remember – you don’t have to wait for an emergency – just make some tonight!

TOMATO & CHEESE BREAD (1 small loaf)

For printable recipe, click here.


1 small par-baked baguette (about a foot long)
2-3 Tbsp softened butter (or olive oil spread)
1 Tbsp concentrated tomato paste
3 Tbsp grated Cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano


Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Slice the baguette carefully into 1.5 cm thick slices, being careful not to cut all the way through the bottom of each slice.

In a small bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients to form a paste.  Carefully spread a generous amount of the paste into each cut in the baguette, spreading any leftovers on top of the baguette.

Wrap the baguette in aluminium foil (shiny side in) and bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes or until the butter has completely melted into the bread.  Serve hot.

TIPS:  If you do have leftover butter, it’s delicious on baked potatoes or stirred into pasta, or you can top a hot, grilled steak with a blob.

This bread makes a great braai (BBQ) side dish too.

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider sharing it using the social media buttons below the post. I'd also love to hear what you thought about this post so please do leave a comment below. Hope to see you again soon!

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. says

    WOW, what a beautiful kitchen Jeanne. I really like the double oven, and love love love your dinning area. Love it because there are so many windows, and is looking over the back yard. Will we see the garden next? I hope so…
    Congratulation on your new home.

  2. Diane Schupbach says

    Absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations!!
    PS I love how the Marmite and Mrs Balls are front and center on your old kitchen shelf :)

  3. says

    Wow – what a contrast – no wonder you’re in love! It’s so great having space in a kitchen, and cupboards and room for people to keep you company. But all kudos to you for having produced so many wonderful dishes from your old kitchen over the last five years!!

  4. says

    i can’t count the times when i’ve bumped into you trying to reverse (a foolish idea!) in your kitchen or stepped on your toes… and i can’t wait to cook with you in your new abode! the only bad news for me is that we’re now on equal terms and i will have to come out to yours much more often than until now… what a trek! 😉

  5. says

    Some of the best ideas come from sticky situations, don’t they? Tomato and cheese bread is a great idea but I bet you wouldn’t have thought of it if you’d had garlic!
    Great to see your kitchens, I also noticed the Mrs Balls! The new kitchen is lovely, can we have another picture when you’re all moved in? I love looking at other people’s kitchens.

  6. says

    That bread looks very yummy, but your new kitchen takes the cake. Wow! And that dining area…..deeeevine :-) So when is the big move??

  7. says

    Wow! Five years is such an accomplishment!! Congrats. And your new kitchen looks absolutely fabulous. I’m envious of your counterspace–and granite counterspace at that. No wonder you’re making such gorgeous food!

  8. says

    Oh wow, lucky you!!!!!!It is beautiful, but word or warning though….don’t try and change your cooking…it is perfect as it is!!! Well done, Jeanne!!

  9. John Unsworth says

    Greetings Sister,
    I enjoy your blog particularly as I have visited PE 5 times. When I changed my kitchen format I ditched my cooker in favour of a hob and two microwave/convector ovens. I do not think that many people know that Panasonic offer an oven with shelves so that one of mine can be used just like a conventional oven. With an additional grill it has become my most used appliance. Not cheap, I cannot think why all such ovens do not have this facility but very useful particularly for people who do not want to have to go onto their knees to take something out of the oven. Enjoy your kitchen. If you keep writing I will keep reading.

  10. dawnielle says

    So happy for you! I’ve always reckoned that the best cooks have the crappiest of kitchens….and now you’ve debunked the myth!! Enjoy!

  11. says

    I am jealous – what a spacious gorgeous kitchen – and what inspiration to see what you have cooked in a small kitchen – good luck with all the moving – I am sure you will fill those cupboards in no time at all – and love the idea of the bread – must try it

  12. says

    Congratulations on your phenomenal new kitchen!!! I am swooning here! (By the way, what *did* you tumble-dry in the old kitchen? Heh heh.) I sooo wanna be in on your inaugural meal, everything looks delicious!

  13. says

    Congrats on a new – and beautiful – kitchen, Jeanne! Does that mean that next time in London we can have a dinner both at your place and at Johanna’s? 😀

  14. says

    Congrats on a beautiful new kitchen, house and I love the dining room!!! Good luck with the move!! Love the idea of the cheese and tomato bread!! Have a lovely weekend:)

  15. Mel says

    I am blown away you created such amazing masterpieces out of such a tiny, dare I say crappy, kitchen. Like a women from a man’s rib, impressive my sista!
    (LOVE your new house!)

  16. Niall Harbison says

    I just moved kitchen as well and it is a horrible thing to do. You have all your little places for things in the old one and I have spent the first couple of weeks in my new one trying to remember where things are! New kitchen looks great, you should have great fun cooking up more treats in there!

  17. says

    Oh my GOSH! I have a loaf of french bread, and nothing to make for supper for my hubby and boys. I also have leftover tomato paste in the fridge and a huge hunk of cheddar cheese. What good fortune or kitchen spirit moved me to click on your blog right now and find this recipe?
    Congratulations on your kitchen. I can really appreciate that! Just got a new stove myself and am still feeling like I’m in heaven.

  18. browniegirl says

    AAAAH, I know those cramped pokey little London kitchens so well…..you are only to be congratulated on turning out the masterpieces that you have made in it…and then WOW!!! I am in total awe and envy of your new kitchen. Well done Jeanne, you must be oh so thrilled!! You are surely going to be queen of the kitchen there…..just think, you wont have to twist yourself into a cooksister to work in your kitchen anymore hehe…all the best with the move….Hugs xxx

  19. says

    The new kitchen looks nice and the open dinning room is great! I like the sound off that super moist looking tomato and cheese bread.

  20. says

    I am in awe of what you have managed to produce out a room smaller than my linen cupboard! I love your new kitchen. You are going to love the space, but I am sure, like me, once you start filling those cupboards, soon you’ll be wondering where all the space went!
    I am so lucky to have an old farm size kitchen. Hubby and I are starting the re-modeling soon – so it’ll be updated from 1937 to 2009!

  21. says

    Your old kitchen makes mine look rather spacious. Your new one makes mine look like some puny scullery. I’m impressed at all that you’ve turned out of the old and excited to see what you get up to in the new one! Congratulations on the new home and good luck with settling in.

  22. says

    That is a beautiful kitchen! Quite an upgrade. I love the dining room too. I am a sucker for light and sunlight….goodness knows Old Blighty doesn’t get much of that!

  23. says

    congrats Jeanne! on both fab new kitchen (and dining room!) and on 5 enjoyable years being a cook sister.. well done all round :)