Monday, 9 April 2012

What to do with leftovers-Tomatoes and other stories

Our fridge regularly accumulates packs of tomatoes. I am not sure what disaster this might hope to avoid, but whatever reason we have a great variety of tomatoes in our fridge! I have, rather proudly, grown some tomatoes from seed. Packed onto the window amongst various flower jugs, a now redundant hosepipe attachment which saw the un-banned months of me on a chair looping a hose-pipe through a small top window (The rest remained firmly shut due to lost window keys!) and then attached to our wobbley taps. There were some interesting episodes when I stared at the empty, dribbling hose outside and inside chaos reigned and the whole kitchen was treated to a vigorous sprinkler effect. (Flood No. 2 in our kitchen!) The hose also took to sweeping anything off the window sill beneath it's belly like a great boa constrictor, yet somehow my 10 seedlings have survived and been transplanted into a motley collection of pots I have collected from old plants and some rather eco friendly newspaper ones I have made. They look ready to burst but I filled with pride at their novelty and frugal-friendly qualities. So tomatoes are going to be the order of the day. I am rather at a loss for the rest of the garden.

My cottage garden filled and subsumed by swathes of heavy-headed peonies, foxgloves and blousey blooms, has had a false start. My wonderful resident gardener who is extremely handy with a watering can, not only is an ardent dead-header, he does love a good chew on a plant. So my mini Alan has put paid to some of the plants we might grow and I am drawing up plan B of a garden decorated by only edible herbs and the smaller list of non-toxic plants I have found on the Internet! I also had no idea some plants were so dangerous for pets! This list was very useful and i am off to stock up on some hollyhocks for added drama! So in order to provide something for our resident caterpillar I am growing tomatoes and have a little recipe for the extra we grow or if, like me, you have amassed some for a salad (I never had time to make) here is a wonderful hearty soup I have adapted!
Jean-Baptiste Chardin sets the mood for our rustic fare..

For a starter for 6 or 2 big bowls for two indulgent adults
2.5 kgs tomatoes, we used cherry tomatoes but you can use bigger ones for a more watery soup
1-2 white onions chopped roughly
3 cloves garlic, sliced(2 for small people soup)
Olive oil
Stale bread (Again another item I seem to collect..)
Caster sugar

  • Roast the tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil in a baking tray. Drizzle oil and add salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 190oC (Or the permanent 250oC that our oven is set to..) for 30-40 mins.
  • Pour everything and the roasting juices into a liquidiser or use a hand liquidiser with 5 tablespoons of olive oil or a big glug, a full teaspoon of caster sugar and whizz.
  • Place roughly torn off bread into the same tray and drizzle with a dash of olive oil. Bake until toasty probably 5-10 mins.
  • Pour soup into bowls and place the croutons in a large pyramid. We drank Rose out of a tumbler for an authentic French cafe feel...(We probably need to get out more!)
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