Semi-dried cherry tomatoes

You can make these while you sleep and use them when the very idea of cooking dinner is beyond you.

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Before I get into the how of these, I’ll tell you the why. Firstly, it only takes a minute to get them ready, so I do it on the weekend when the oven’s on for another reason, usually Sunday night’s dinner. As I’ll explain in a moment, the magic itself happens while I’m asleep.

Next morning, I pop them into a little container and they go into the fridge. As the working week sets in, I know that a great, effortless dinner will require nothing more of me than boiling some water.

Even the dullest tomatoes are transformed by this method, becoming intensely flavoured. You’ll understand my obsession with them if you make them once: so easy and so good, you’ll keep making them again and again.

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So, to the making.

Take a punnet of cherry tomatoes and cut them all in half. Arrange them, cut side up, in a baking dish or on a baking tray. Drizzle over a tablespoon of ordinary olive oil, a teaspoon of dried oregano, ½ teaspoon of sea salt flakes, a pinch of sugar and a little freshly ground pepper.

Turn your oven up to its highest temperature (the dial on mine says “MAX”, which is absurd – it’s actually 250°C) and put your dish in. Close the door and immediately switch the oven off. Leave them like this, door closed, oven off, overnight.

In the morning, transfer the tomatoes and all the delicious juices that have collected in the dish to an airtight container. All you need to do to transform them into dinner is toss them through some pasta – any pasta – with some tinned tuna.

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