Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tomatoes Tomatoes Tomatoes

Have you ever heard people of an certain age saying 'Tomatoes just don't taste like tomatoes anymore'...... well, they won't be growing their own. There is nothing more satisfying and tasty and to pick a tomato straight from the vine and take a bite. Nothing else is needed, no salt no nothing - just savour the wonderful richness that a 'real' tomato has. 

Wonderful tomatoes - simply delicious
We are very lucky that we have a greenhouse. So we had some carrots and a big glut of tomatoes this year (our outside vegetable garden doesn't show much recovery) and the challenge was on what to do with them. So far I have made 8 jars of chutney (I am famous for my tomato chutney by the way), tomato salads and tarts.... so what to do next..... Tomato sauce of course. We have planted several different types of tomatoes and the colours were ranging from red over yellow to purple (looks amazing in a salad) and I thought it would be a great idea to use the whole mix for the sauce...... the colour turned out a big pale but wow - what a flavour. When I pureed the sauce, I took a few ladles out before the tomatoes were totally pureed and had it as a soup (delicious).

I slow cooked this sauce for a deep rich flavour and added carrots and celery as well as onions. The result is a thick, creamy and delicious sauce which can be used not only as a pasta sauce but as base for a soup (just add some red lentils) or even a stew. You can also add tomato paste to the sauce but with homegrown tomatoes you don't really need to.

As I had different sizes of tomatoes, I was to lazy to peel them all - just the bigger ones - and passed it through a sieve. But as you puree the sauce, there is no real need to peel them but it will give you a smother texture.

You will need:

  • 1kg tomatoes (skinned and chopped)
    Tomato soup

  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • olive oil
  • basil, parsley, fresh and chopped
  • seasoning

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and tip in the chopped vegetables apart from the tomatoes. Stir-fry until the carrots are starting to soften. Add the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat until the tomatoes become mushy. Add seasoning and the fresh herbs and stir well and cook for a further 5 mins. 

Take off the heat and puree it to the required consistency. If you want a very smooth sauce, pass it through a sieve. Just before serving, add some more basil.

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