Monday, August 30, 2010

It’s time to get Saucy!

In case you thought i was about to change the viewer rating of this blog I am going to have to disappoint you. Now is a good time of year to pick to up tomatoes at the farmers market. What you might not know is that many farm stands with will sell you soft (meaning over ripe) but unblemished tomatoes quite cheaply. So why would you want to buy mushy soft tomatoes?

Well, like most vegetables Tomatoes are seasonal and although here in California the season is long it does end and you are faced with a few months of buying out tomatoes from overseas or in jar as sauce. Well you can make your own and now is a great time to do it. Yesterday I went down to the local farmers market and came back with a full flat of (over ripe) organic heirloom tomatoes (I also picked up a flat of Strawberries but more on that in another post). photo (5)

My plan was to make Passata which is essentially sieved raw tomatoes that are put in a jar and stored to make pasta sauce. I like to do things a little differently and I make version of Passata that is based on roasted tomato. It is very simple to make, so why don’t you have a go yourself.

To go with my farmers market tomatoes and sliced up 3 small onions and two heads of garlic (don’t bother to peel), also grab a handful of your favorite aromatic herb (I had some rosemary in the garden that needed a haircut).

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Slice you tomatoes in half and lay them on a baking tray
  3. Sprinkle the onion garlic and herbs on top.
  4. Drizzle over a few glugs of olive oil (just to lightly dress)
  5. Pinch or two of salt
  6. Pinch of sugar

Place the tray in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour remove the tray and leave to cool. Finally rub everything through a sieve (or a food mill).

What you end up with is Passata which you can either use immediately or put into sterilized bottles or jars and seal until you need them. Should keep around 6-8 months or until you have the fresh local stuff again.

Use in soups and sauces as needed…..give it a try!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

For all you chocaholics

Not posted in a while but could not let this one slide by. Been reading a book by Willie Harcourt-Cooze. Willie is a cacao farmer and chocolate maker and his book is called perhaps not surprisingly Willie's chocolate factory. This is great book, very inspirational as the first half covers the path Willie has traveled to realize his dream of producing premium chocolate bean to bar.

The second half of the book has some delicious recipes which use chocolate many of them savory. I haven't tried them all but the one below is simply awesome.

Cacao Nib Muesli
200g Porridge oats
50g Cacao nibs
50g Hazelnuts lightly crushed (I have also used walnuts)
50g flakes Almonds
150g Mixed Dried fruit (your choice, mix it up, but try a little candied Ginger)

Preheat the oven to 325F (160C)

Place the oats, cacao nibs, hazelnuts, and almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8-10 mins. Shake the tray occasionally. Leave to cool

Mix in the fruit and keep in an air tight container BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop