Not really, although to me the kilo or so of tomatoes that I’ve harvested in the last few days does seem like a tonne as it’s been an especially good year even though I didn’t get started until June. The mini-glut has enabled me to try a couple of things that I’ve wanted to make for a while: roasted tomato and fennel soup and slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, which I’m going to try preserving in oil.
The recipes (loose instructions, mainly, which I’ll do in another post) were given to me by a good friend who always makes gorgeous meals and this is my first attempt at both. (She also gave me the 5 tomato plants that I have growing in two grow bags on the patio.)
What type of tomatoes am I growing? Nice of you to ask.
- 1 x ‘Ailsa Craig‘: ordinary tomatoes, good in all sorts of recipes and grows well in most conditions except frost. That single plant looks as though it will be giving me all the general-purpose tomatoes I need this year.
- 3 x ‘Sweet Millions‘: really tasty cherry tomatoes which usually don’t make it to be cooked as anyone in the general area starts popping them like sweets; loads per plant. I’m going to be up to my eyes in these in a week or so. My Nan’s growing them in a couple of hanging baskets, where they’re also doing very well.
- 1 x ‘Striped American‘: slightly larger than a bog standard tomato and starts off looking like small, green pumpkins. The taste is apparently delicious but the texture a little woolly, according to my sources, hence the suggestion that I use those to make soup. Apparently they’re also good for stuffing, if you like that sort of thing.
My usual fall-back for using a glut of tomatoes is to use them in a general-purpose sauce which I can put with various pasta things or even use as the tomato sauce base for a pizza. I always sauté an onion or two (red or white) and then any suitable veg that I have: usually diced courgette, peppers, mushrooms and garlic, depending what I intend to use it for.
An entirely arbitrary amount and combination of Italian Seasoning, basil, tomato purée, garlic purée, umami paste, a beef stock jelly and some red wine is then added, depending on my mood, and is cooked in a large pan until I decide that it’s done. There are loads of good recipes online if you want something specific or particularly rich, but for ordinary home cooking (which is really my comfort zone) this will do nicely. It freezes well so I make a big batch, split it into portions and then use as needed. It defrosts well in the microwave if you’re in a hurry and is ridiculously cheap.
I’ll let the roasted veg for the soup cool overnight and then blend it in the morning when I won’t annoy my neighbours with the noise.