Thursday, 24 September 2009

Food Almost For Free

We've been eating tomatoes from our potager and keeping abreast, so to speak, of their ripenings, but NOW we have had to use them before the slugs move in! I just didn't fancy making chutney but did feel inspired by Chantal to make tomato sauce. Altogether I made 6 jars of tomato sauce, two tomato tarts, AND we are still eating tomato salad. The green tomatoes on the vines are still ripening but if necessary I will make green tomato chutney.

I wash and hull the tomatoes and blanch them in a pan of boiling water so that I can take the skins off.
(These I save separately because later I whizz them up in the food processor with the liquid that has blanched the tomatoes, having added some lightly sautéed shallots, garlic cloves, seasoning, including a dash of soy sauce and lots of thyme to make as a basis for Tomato or other variety SOUP. To one amount I added a dash of freshly sieved juice from handpicked elderberries. Very good.)
Then the tomatoes are cut open and I take out the green seeds, which I understand to be poisonous but that might be an old wives tale! The tomatoes are put into the preserving pan with a splash of sugar or honey, seasoning, and cooked slowly. When it looks a different colour I whizz it in the food processor and return it to the pan having sieved out the seeds. I adjust the seasoning as required once the liquid has considerably reduced. Then the satisfying part is to bottle the sauce in clean warm jars, polish the jars, add labels and ADMIRE the fruits of thine labour.
We have been gifted bucketfuls of wild peaches. Mmm... after giving them a wash, we discarded the bruised ones, and trimmed the manky skinned ones. We de-stoned the peaches and wherever possible tried to keep some as neat halved peaches. I rinsed them in cold water with white vinegar before poaching in honey and white wine. Poached peaches with a few mm of 40% alcohol in the jars will be stored for a few weeks for peach compôte with yoghurt or lait ribôt and muesli for breakfast. Delicious! At first I made ordinary peach tarts for dessert. However, the neatly halved peaches were baked in the oven with sugar and then with a pastry top added, created a kind of upside-down peach tatin! Having inverted the tart I added a second layer of halved peaches, having taken the skins off. This tart had a 35cm diameter. We eat the peach skins as they are very good for the digestive system! Oh .. and I sprinkle lavender flowers across the top!

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