Last time I was up the plot seems to be a long time ago, I am hoping to remedy that this weekend if only for half an hour or so. But last time I was up I had fully intended to talk about the merits of buying tomatoes that had already been grafted onto a vigorous root stock. I am sure you have seen them in the nursery magazines or on the internet and have wondered whether it is worth it compared to growing them your selves from seed. So this year we decided to throw caution to the wind and buy a few plants in. It was the best decision we have ever made. For the last two years I have grown piccolo tomatoes (which are absolutely divine) from seed and have noticed they tend to produce quite weedy plants and have a very poor germination. They fruit well enough when they get going so I can forgive them almost anything.. But then we tried these..
I am hoping you will be able to see just how densely fruited they are. I was staggered to see how they developed and am completely bowled over by them. I don’t think I will be growing tomatoes from seed again, the price for the plants is definitely worth it.
It is difficult to show you density on bigger tomatoes but I am hoping you get the idea. We have one and a half greenhouse’s full of tomatoes, if you remember, I like peas, but I like tomatoes even more.
These are a few chillis that are still green
and peppers yet to ripen. This was all a month ago and since then they have transformed into beautifully glossy richly coloured fruits which are so very pretty.
This was hubbys pickings of the day. This was the first of the sweetcorn so were testing one this evening, it was the sweetest corn on the cob we have ever tasted. We will be picking some more of these tomorrow.
He also came home with these,…
beautiful piccolo’s, even if they are a little overripe, son no.1 seemed to have been a bit over zealous with the watering can, which can make a tomato split, but no matter we had plenty to choose from that were completely useable.
and a variety of beefsteaks, Italian (which I have forgotten the name) and shirleys. (because they were going at an event we went to)
And this is only one day’s supply, I’ve just about caught up with the tomatos, the runner beans are next on the list. Since we have been back from the hospital I have probably processed about fifty pounds in weight of tomatoes. And the greenhouse is still pretty full, it gives me a good feeling, from now until next summer we shall have lots of lovely tomatoey dishes to boost us up when the days are dark and the vegetables can get a little samey. And let us face it the tomatoes just aren’t worth buying come December onwards, so I have little pockets of sunshine to share with my family.
So what have I been doing with them I hear you ask. Well I have been using them for cooking and we have lovely dishes of meatballs in tomato sauces with spaghetti,
some lovely aubergine parmigiana was a great success. (although that may well have been a sneaky bit of cheddar added to it, but hey, that is how I cook)
I have cooked tray after tray of oven roasted tomatoes, so many I have lost count,
some of which I have left in the fridge as tasty additions to sandwiches or salads or just to pick at whilst waiting for supper to cook.
I have finally found the answer to what gives you that zingy taste from the sun blushed tomatoes one buys from the supermarkets. And as I am a generous soul I shall share it with you, it is vinegar. If you drizzle a little white wine vinegar, along with finely chopped garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and I add a shake of oregano, it seems to work very well.
I tried it with balsamic but I think white wine vinegar has the edge as it doesn’t give you any discoloration and gives you a cleaner tingle on the tongue. I have also started to speed up on oven times and tried them in a hotter oven than is normally used and you’ve be surprised at what you can get away with. They have been fine at 170 centigrade for an hour, turn the oven off and then take them out an hour later. I got bored with the six hour on a very low lite recipe.
And rather than give myself or my family botulism, and if one is preserving in oil, or without the use of a lot of vinegar, one should really read that one up, its quite scary, I bag a tray’s worth at a time and then freeze them. They will be made into pasta sauces or soups or whatever cookery sorcery I desire as and when the time comes.
And some I have skinned and chopped and pulped down and frozen which will then in the fullness of time make my meatballs with tomato sauce, lamb tagines and other gorgeousness to titty-bait the taste buds.
At the moment I am living in a very tomatoey world, I am having great fun, its wonderful.
But I must show you this,
Aren’t they wonderful. Sadly they are not mine, but I know whose they are and will be asking him for advice, now we have two greenhouses its time to start off my grape vine in one of them.
It would be lovely to have an old gnarled grape vine just like Grandad’s was in a few years, and let us not forget the delicious Greek Dolmades that are made from the leaves, I used to make this dish regularly but only with packet vine leaves. So my winter homework will be identifying which grapevine has the combination of sweet grapes and edible leaves.
And this photograph of me was taken in August, note that woolly attire was needed. We have had a funny old year weather wise. And I hear that it is going to get colder very quickly, I must help hubby do some more picking, before the frosts come.