Thursday 29 September 2016

Tomato feast

We've had a bumper tomato harvest this year. The 9 tomato plants (Alicantes) in the greenhouse have done really well. During their peak I was picking 2lbs of tomatoes each day. This year we didn't grow any Big Boys in the small conservatory. (They were really my Mum's project.)

Home-grown tomatoes (Alicantes)

It's great to have home-grown tomatoes. The shop-bought ones just don't have any flavour and I'd just as soon do without. I never have any problem getting them to ripen. I pick them when they are ripe or nearly ripe and put them on the window sill. Unripe ones quickly catch up - even green ones turn red in a few days.

What to do with them all?
  • Eat in salads or on their own.
  • Roast them in the oven for an easy veg to accompany - well, anything.  Put a tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-proof dish. Cut the toms in half through the middle and rub the cut side in the oil. Turn them over with cut side up and sprinkle with black pepper, a little salt and some herbs if you have them - marjoram or thyme are great.
  • Make tomato passata. Roast whole toms in the oven wih a little oil. Cook for 1hr or so at medium heat. There will be a lot of water and juice after cooking. Rub the tomatoes through a sieve to get fairly thick puree. Use it as a sauce, soup or in dishes like bolognese. It freezes well. Keep the juice / oil to use in soups or where you need vegetable stock.
  • Tomato soup. Make a tomato passata and add peper and salt to taste, maybe a handful of herbs. You don't need anything else. It's delicious just as it is.
  • Tomato chutney. I made some delicious tomato and chilli chutny, using chilles Paul grew this year.
  • Tomato tart. Make a pastry base, lightly cook. Chop some onions finely and cook gently in some olive oil. Slice tomatoes and discard any hard bits around the stalk. Spread the onions on the pastry base, arrange the tomatoes prettily over the top and sprinkle with black pepper, herbs, a little salt. Pop back in the oven at medium heat for half an hour.
  • Sell at table-top sales (they were very popular)
  • Give away to friends and neighbours.
 The tomato plants are beginning to shut down now, but there's still a few pounds left. I think I'll make more chutney!

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