8 kilos of tomatoes for 3 euros….

I just could not resist the temptation of these red Roma tomatoes so came back to the boat with a crate ! The crew were somewhat alarmed but know of my love of tomatoes, and realised that it meant there would be a lot of cooking in the next few days! A job I did not have a problem with at all as it meant we would all be enjoying these tomatoes in some way whether it be a sauce for pasta, a salsa, semi sun-dried or just chopped up for bruschetta in a salad…. there are so many ways in which to enjoy such a glut of tomatoes and I know I will buying another 8 kilos at next weeks market as I have guests arriving on Friday and I might as well stock up on these delicious tomatoes

There were so many stalls selling these tomatoes I was not the only one having the stall holder help me take them back to where I had parked the car! Mind you I had only taken one crate there were several others who were taking 2 or more crates obviously to start working on making up their sauces for the winter and with the family around on holidays there would be plenty of hands to help out !

I on the other hand would be doing the tomatoes alone but had no concerns of this the oven was turned on the moment I could get to it.

Tomatoes washed and ready to be halved with the cores removed and placed on oven trays, sprinkled with salt and pepper, some crushed garlic scattered around then and then they were roasted at 180/gas mark 4  for an hour. I removed them from the oven and skinned them whilst they were on the trays before placing them in a large saucepan and cooking them down for another hour breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as I stirred. Keeping an eye on them and stirring meant that they did not burn at the bottom of the saucepan whilst they continued to cook.

I then used a hand blender to roughly blend the sauce, not making it into soup but just breaking up the larger pieces of tomatoes that had not broken down. Adding chopped basil it makes a wonderful fresh tomato sauce for pasta! Otherwise I throw in some basil leaves and allow the sauce to cool so that I can then place it in bags and freeze for a later day. The following day I made a huge amount of gazpacho soup which also can be frozen but so much better eaten fresh …. ! Having worked for a Spanish / Arab family I was taught the traditional family way of making the gazpacho soup and have never changed the recipe as I just love it and have had many compliments on the soup when I have served it. These tomatoes were perfect for a batch so my blender came out and the tomatoes were peeled, and then quartered, removing the seeds and then blended together with a piece of cucumber, capsicum( pepper) and white onion before adding the vinegar and olive oil so that the colour changes and the soup takes on its wonderful flavor. To serve I make sure there some diced tomato, capsicum, cucumber and of course tiny croutons, and making sure that the soup is icy cold….delish. A parmesan crisp is a nice addition too. I make this soup through tasting, and watching it change as I blend it adding the olive oil slowly at the end so as for the measurements it will take be a while to get a recipe written unless I use the one in my cookbook …. However 10 years on I am sure my tastes have changed slightly and I must now review the recipe and see what changes need to be made !… Maybe next week when I get another 8 kilos of tomatoes for 3 euros !

Anyhow with the other tomatoes I made some great semi sun-dried toms some with herbs and garlic, some sweetened with balsamic, some just au naturale. These are put in salads, on bruschetta, or eaten as an antipasta. Then there was the Melanzana Parmigiano which had some of the homemade tomatoes sauce, but it was adapted slightly with some extra garlic, roasted capsicums, and plenty of basil. The spicy salsa to go with the chicken fajitas for a crew dinner on Friday, then of course just to be eaten sprinkled with salt as a salad, with mozzarella or cucumbers and parsley.

I had better stop now as the more I think of making things with tomatoes like jellies, ice creams or using just the water liquid from strained chopped peeled tomatoes the more I feel I need to go out and buy more but have other fruits and vegetables in the fridge or fruit bowl ready and waiting to be used, such as the peaches I have bought to make a sorbet and also some chutney as they are just so ripe and flavorful at this time of year. The white nectarines, peaches and flat, gallete peaches, (flat peaches) are delicious so sweet and fragrant. They also can be bought in crates and so of course when I shop I buy crates of these as they are just to good to miss in the middle of August ripened on the plants and ready for eating…