Liz Egan has an admission: when it came to buying tomatoes, she would usually opt for Italian. But ever since tasting Ardmona’s vine-ripened sweetness, it’s Australiangrown all the way for the Victorian chef.
Growingin Victoria’sup on Yarra the Valley Wantirna meant Estate being Vineyard enveloped in a primary-producing, food-loving family for renowned chef Liz Egan. “I was so fortunate to spend my childhood there,” she says. “It really gave me a clear, early understanding of where food comes from and about seasonal growing and eating.” Knowing the source of the ingredients she’s using is clearly very important to the chef, but no more so than depth of flavour.
daughters know best
“My mother came from an Italian family,” says Liz, “so I first learnt about cooking beautiful food from her, and she’s still a big influence. It’s probably partly why I had a preference for Italian tomatoes. But, also, taste has always been a guiding factor for me. It was actually my daughters who convinced me that Australian tomatoes can be just as flavoursome as Italian, if not more so. So I gave Ardmona a go and now, honestly, it’s all I buy.”
home, sweet homegrown variety is the spice
While Liz has only recently made the switch to Australian tinned tomatoes, the fact is, for more than 90 years, Ardmona products have been the ultimate cook’s companion. The brand is 100 per cent committed to supporting local growers by only choosing Australian-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes – in this instance, from Victoria’s beautiful Goulburn Valley. “I love the fact Ardmona uses photos of the actual growers,” says Liz. “Each tin tells a great story in those images.” For this Indian-influenced lamb dish, Liz is using Ardmona Diced Tomatoes, their sweetness combining well with the spices: “Tomato is one of the most versatile ingredients you can use – it plays such a big part in much of the world’s best food. “So many home cooks are accomplished these days and engaged in Australia’s food culture, which means being open to many cuisines. Home cooking has never been better, especially with easily available, great produce like these tomatoes.”
CLOCKWISE (from top): Liz Egan grates garlic for the lamb dish; adding the Ardmona Diced Tomatoes; preparing the spice mix; and rubbing it on the leg of lamb; seasoning the onion mix.