Izzy wizzy let’s get bizzy 🐝 ✨
Greetings from a busy kitchen 💐 💕
I’ve been singularly failing to keep my blog going lately…and that’s because I’ve been madly busy harvesting and storing, preserving and pickling some of my homegrown fruit and vegetables. So cooking dinner has been taking a bit of a back seat! Baked potatoes all round 😏
Here’s a taster of what’s been happening in my household lately… raspberry jam, cucumber pickle, roasted tomato and garlic passata and an almond vegan cheese made in honour of my delicious Italian tomatoes…… and some of the beans are air-drying for the winter …..
So. Where to start?
ROASTED TOMATO AND GARLIC PASSATA
- 1 kg. tomatoes
- 4-6 large garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2-3 tbs. olive oil
- 30ml. water
- Take a roasting pan, and lightly oil it.
- If the tomatoes are big, halve them.
- Place the tomatoes in the roasting tin, and scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves, the salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Add a little water. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Cover tightly with silver foil and place in a pre-heated oven Gas Mk. 4 / 180C for 60-90 mins.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a while.
- Remove the tomato skins and discard.
- Squeeze the garlic out of its peel and discard the peel.
- Place everything else,including all the juices in a blender.
- Blend briefly on pulse for a coarse passata, or until smooth for a tomato garlic sauce.
- Measure into freezer bags and freeze in batches. You should have approximately 2 x 500ml. bags or a little more.
Cook’s note: if you place the freezer bags in a rectangular tupperware dish, and then fill them, they will freeze as ‘bricks’ …making them easy to stack in the freezer. Remove from the tupperware once frozen.
Defrost, and use passata with pasta, stews, curries and reduce the sauce over a medium heat to make an intense tomato sauce as a pizza topping…
… the taste of summer all through winter ❤️
But some of these tomatoes just need eating fresh…so I made an almond vegan cheese which came out a bit like feta and a bit like mozzarella.
I adapted a Miyoko Schinner recipe … using blanched almonds, white miso, rejuvelac and agar. It stores in the fridge for a month or so, in a dilute brine.
And it’s just right for a Caprese Salad…. a match made without doubt in heaven…tangy tomatoes, creamy, salty cheese and fresh basil. Delectable. 🙃
Ok …not everyone has a glut of cucumbers like I do…but I’ve made this recipe several years in a row now….it’s so good. And you can buy a few cucumbers at a decent farmer’s market I’m sure!
You can find the recipe I use here: http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/cucumber-pickle-recipes-special-awards-48/ This year I adapted half the batch by adding curry spices to half the vinegar syrup.
I did this simply by pouring the first half of the syrup into half the jars as usual, and then I added the following ingredients to the remaining syrup:
2 finely chopped green chillies, 1 tsp. ground cumin seeds, 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds , 0.5 tsp. hot chilli powder … heated it through for a further 5 mins. Pour the spiced syrup into the remaining jars of cucumber.
I won’t know if my adaptation tastes good for a while, as chutneys like this need a resting time of several weeks before tasting … to allow the vinegar syrup to mellow and soften. But spicy cucumber pickle sounds good doesn’t it?
I think it’ll be nice … dare I say it … at Christmas time… 🌲
should make 4-5 x 400gm. jars…
Yet another way to indulge in the flavours of summer all winter long. Definitely.
For this jam I used a raw light muscovado sugar and I reduced the ‘standard’ sugar content by 25%.
So, for 800gms. raspberries, I used 600gms. sugar.
….or 1 kg. raspberries with 750gms. sugar….
Cook’s note: (To sterilise the jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse, and then place sideways on a heat proof tray in the oven, gas mk2/150C for up to an hour, and at least half an hour. Until they are absolutely dry. For the lids, wash until ultra-clean and then place in a bowl and cover in boiling water for 5 mins. or so. Dry with clean kitchen towel. Take care, everything is very hot).
- 800 gms. raspberries
- 600gms. raw light muscovado sugar
- I tsp. pectin
- Place the fruit and the sugar in a non-reactive pan (I use a stainless steel Maslin pan) and leave for a few hours.
- Place the pan on a medium heat, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the powdered pectin.
- Bring to a rapid boil.
- Boil the jam until it reaches setting point.
I use the wrinkle test:
- Place a few drops of jam on a chilled saucer, allow to cool for a minute or two, and then push your finger through the jam. When it’s reached setting point, you will see little wrinkles appear as you do this.
- When ready to set, remove from the heat immediately. Allow to cool for 10 mins. and then transfer to hot sterilised jam jars. Cover with waxed discs and then take your sterilised lids and screw on tightly.
- Stores for months in a cool dry place.
Meanwhile I have golden berries ripening on a sunny window sill…(PS they can be poisonous if eaten when green…they should be a warm golden colour)..
…I’m thinking cheesecake… ???
… and all sorts of haricot beans drying for the winter..
I’m thinking bean, winter squash (they’re not picked yet) and kale (still growing) …
curry … ???
amongst other things…
I know growing vegetables isn’t everyone’s thing… and yes it takes time, effort and of course… space…
… it’s nevertheless a great thing to do, and it makes my vegan life delicious, varied… and very creative!
Hope you feel inspired…even to grow a few herbs on a sunny window sill, or tomatoes in pots on the patio… it’s just very rewarding 🌷
Grow stuff 🌿