Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Tomatoes, grown for soup.

With two weeks away and some rather violent winds has left one of my tomatoes looking like this. Giving shade to the ungrateful red onions who also aren't feeling very upright. But we're starting to get a crop and this years damage is due to wind and not blight (so far!) so I'm feeling optimistic.

At the moment we've got a window ledge full of the little things. Waiting and hoping for their turn at pasata with and occasional tomato being taken for dal or my Hot Summer Soup (recipe bellow) as they start to look a bit squashed. It's a happy time in the kitchen.

We start preparing for it in January. That's when we sow our tomatoes. Into pots in the light boxes on the windowsill they go. This year we sowed beefsteak, gardeners delight and yellow pear. The yellow pear never appeared, even after multiple sowings, but the other two where big and ready to go out just as the box to grow arrived. We start by putting them out in the morning and taking them in at night for two weeks then putting them out under recycled bottle cloches next to a cane.

Aside from a daily water, a weekly feed and a good tie back when needed we don't really touch them again. We don't pull off side shoots or break anything off. We just let them grow wild and free. And messy. But this way the plant isn't weekend by pruning and can now possible survive those salty sea winds, the dusty building site winds, the blight and the winds a little better.

And then we pick them. And preserve them. And eat them. This warming soup is just perfect for those last wrinkly over ripe chaps. If you are not into so much chilli heat try replacing the chilli sauce with half the amount of ketchup. Don't even start with the snobbery here. The sweetness of the ketchup and the vinegar will help bind the flavours of the soup.

Hot Summer Tomato Soup
(one serving)

1 cup stock
1 over ripe medium tomato or four or five cherry ones, quartered
about a 1cm cube of ginger, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of chilli powder or more to taste
1 teaspoon Thai red chilli sauce
1/4 cup of pasta, try smaller shapes or broken vermicelli

  1. Gently bring the stock to a simmer.
  2. Add the ginger and simmer for one minute before adding everything else except the pasta.
  3. After five more minutes of gentle simmering blend the broth until smooth.
  4. Add the Pasta and cook as long as the packet tells you too. Mine was four minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust for salt and serve.

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