Preparation Time: 30 minutes + 2 hours refrigeration
Cooking time: 3 hours
5 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
100 ml olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
250g butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon hot water
3 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
300g bacon, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan
60g poppy seeds
small fresh basil leaves to garnish
- Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C. Place the tomatoes on a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor until just smooth. Toast the fennel and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool slightly, then grind the seeds to a powder.
- Puree the onion, garlic, ground spices and half the olive oil in a food processor until the mixture is well combined.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion mixutre over low heat for 25-30 minutes, or until the onion is just beginning to caramelise. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for a further 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato mixture. Cook over very low heat, stirring ocasionally, for 1-1/12 hours, or untill the paste is thick and there is bery little liquid remaining. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. To make the shortbread, beat the butter in a bowel until pale. gradually add the hot water. Sift the flour and paprika into the bowl and mix with a spoon untill smooth. Stir in the bacon, parmesan and 1/4 cup water, then season well with cracked black pepper, adding more water if necessary. Roll into four logs 3cm thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Spread the poppy seeds out on a clean work surface and roll the logs in them untill evenly coated.
5. Preheat the oven to warm 170°C and lightly grease two baking trays. Slice the logs into 5 mm thick slices. Place on the prepared trays and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until pale and crisp. Then cool them completely.
6. To serve the shortbread, top with 1 teaspoon tomato jam and a small basil leaf.
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