It really has been the most glorious summer and one thing will stick in my mind as the colder mornings are with us; the glut of fruit in the garden and greenhouse. Our fruit trees and bushes have groaned under the weight of their harvest. I started off making strawberry jam, froze raspberries, gooseberries and red and black currants. By the end of August I just could not keep up with picking plums. The sleepy, sophorific wasps were very busy with the plums so it was a challenge to get there in time. I made the most delicious plum and almond tart which will be the subject of a future post.
Back in the greenhouse, today is all about tomatoes. I don’t grow my own plants as I prefer to experiment with different varieties. In late March I stop anywhere on the road where there is a sign for tomato plants. In this way you have a lovely mix of beefsteak, yellow, cherry varieties and many of the old heirloom types that are making a come back. It all makes for a much more interesting tomato salad.
I love a home made tomato sauce which you can bring out of the freezer in the depths of winter. It forms the basis of a great and easy supper with pasta (preferably fresh) and some grated Parmesan. As you slowly re-heat the sauce, the kitchen will be full of that wonderful tomato, basil and garlic smell. Four minutes after cooking your fresh pasta, supper is ready. If you don’t have a ready supply of tomatoes to cook up now, buy them in bulk from the supermarket.
4lbs fresh tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Wash the tomatoes and then cut in half and place cut side up in a large roasting tin. If they are cherry tomatoes, I don’t even cut them in half. You will probably need more than one roasting tin. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and then scatter with the crushed garlic and torn basil leaves. Season with salt and black pepper.
Roast at 180 degrees (Aga – roasting oven) for 30 mins. The outside edges of the tomatoes should be crunchy. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Liquidize in a Magimix or with a hand blender and pour into tupperware boxes or freezer bags. Freeze when completely cold or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
You could also add chopped chillies to give some of the sauce an extra ommph. This sauce also makes a great base for a vegetarian lasagne with courgettes and aubergine.
I would love to hear from anyone who would like to make a comment.
Next time – BRIOCHE AND CUSTARD TART