Olly graced me with a second sleep today of two hours, which allowed me to dig the composted cow manure & lovely rich new soil into the cleared garden bed, and plant my new heirloom tomato seedlings. I’m so excited that I managed to achieve it as I usually would procrastinate & not get around to it, and leave the pots out until the little plants fried in the hot spring sun… When I worked at Sean’s Panaroma in the summer they used to make a very simple tomato salad, but the tomatoes were so delicious that you couldn’t believe the flavour in your mouth… I’m going to attempt to grow some of the same crazy ones I saw there: Black Russian, Green Zebra, Black Krim and Lemon Drop as well as Grosse Lisse and Principe Borghese. I hope to have some fabulous looking photos up here by Christmas!
It’s a lovely feeling, to be making use of the vegetable beds, as I remember when we moved in almost two years ago and I felt such worry to be taking on another person’s established organic garden, with lots of vegetables I couldn’t identify. And I can fully understand how gardening is reccomended to people suffering from depression as it really does uplift the soul – especially when you see your seeds show their little green heads for the first time, and your seedlings flourish.
So, in anticipation of a bumper crop of huge tomatoes in a few months’ time, here is my recipe for a wonderful and sneaky tomato/veggie sauce – perfect for pasta & rice, for kids big and small…
Sneaky Tomato Sauce
6-8 ripe tomatoes
a stick of celery
a zucchini/some broccoli/whatever else!
half an onion
a clove of garlic
a few basil leaves
olive oil & salt
2 saucepans & a hand-held blender
Start by filling up one of the saucepans with water & setting over high heat to boil. In the meantime, chop up the onion and start to fry it off in the other saucepan with quite a good glug of the olive oil. After a minute or so add the chopped up carrot & celery and fry them off on high for a few minutes too. Then drop the heat to simmer, sprinkle a little salt over the top and sweat with the lid on while you do the next stage.
With the 1st pan of water boiling, drop the tomatoes in for 3 or 4 minutes. In the meantime chop up the zucchini or other veggies & add to the onion, carrot & celery. The tomatoes by this time should be ready to be pulled out to cool slightly – the skins now should be easy to peel off, if not put the tomatoes back in for another minute. Once all are peeled chop them up roughly and add to the veggies, with the crushed garlic & half a cup of water. Now bring up to the boil and then immediately turn down to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring every so often.
If I’m in the middle of a hundred things, I leave the pot with the lid on, to rest until I’ve got time to add the basil & whizz it all up to a smooth sauce, and then pour it all into containers to freeze or chill or eat.