Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Sweet

Do you remember that beautiful Sweet Potato that was poking it's head out of the soil? Well I couldn't resist any longer.

Oooo!!!

1 pound 4 oz
Awesome. I have peeled it & cut it up & put it in with a few potatoes for the topping on my Cottage Pie. Tonight's tea. I've also used my tomato puree.

I also saw another one behind it, can't wait to pull them all.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Successful cooking

Wow. I said I was going to make some tomato puree (or paste if you are from USA) and didn't really expect it to go right but it did.

I found a recipe on How to, it had a few references along with it & links to other ways to cook the same thing so I got a bit confused over how much to use. One said 5 lbs of tomatoes and half teaspoon of salt and another said 5 tomatoes to half teaspoon of salt, not sure which one was correct but it is a big difference. In the end I had just under 4 lbs of tomatoes to use, I took off the stalks, washed & quartered them. I put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, heated and added the tomatoes and salt. The recipe said cook for 5 minutes but I cooked it for about 20.


I then put the mix into a blender as I didn't know what a food mill was so I knew I didn't have one. This chopped it all up lovely. I then passed it through a sieve to remove the seeds and skin. The recipe then said to put it into a shallow dish in the oven on a low heat for about 2 hours.

2 hours later

Well by now it was late at night and I wanted to go to bed. The sauce still hadn't reduced down and I didn't want to leave the cooker on all night, especially with the dogs. So brainwave time. I got out my slow cooker (electric crock pot in USA), poured the mixture into it & set it on high. I left the lid ajar so the steam could escape. When I came down in the morning 6 hours later I had perfect tomato puree.


There isn't much of it, amazing to see how much actually goes into that tin I normally buy.
Now some people might say this is a waste of good tomatoes, I've never liked them but I do like lasagne & bolognese as well as ketchup. I buy a lot of puree so to me it isn't a waste, in fact this will be the first time ever I will be eating my own grown tomatoes.

Now all I have to do is figure out a way to make that cucumber relish come out as I want it to.

Here's the link to the recipe I used. http://www.ehow.com/how_8485322_make-tomato-paste-diced-tomatoes.html

Friday, 6 September 2013

Excited!!!

Look what I found hiding under the soil...... a Sweet Potato...


Only a gardener could get this excited.....

My first time growing these & it looks like they may be a success. Not ready to harvest yet, I've heard you need to wait until the tops die down. It's a bit dry in there, I have been watering every day but didn't today because it rained. Think it needs more so I will get the hose out & give them a good watering tomorrow.

I have loads of tomatoes so I'm going to try & make some puree with them & freeze it. Hope it goes better than the cucumber relish.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Harvesting.

Up until now I've been picking small amounts as they begin to ripen. Well today I got quite a hoard.
The first of my chillies, lots of tomatoes, runner beans and of course cucumber. The cucumbers have nearly finished now, one of the plants has mosaic virus which is now getting quite bad so I don't think it will produce much anymore.

Probably the last few cucumbers

I have had the first ripe Chillies, this is the first time I have grown these. The intention is to make some Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce for my son. There isn't enough yet so I will chop & freeze these until there are more.

Mixture of Chillies

I have already had 2 heads of Calabrese but managed to get a few more today, the caterpillars have been having a munch but I hope I've managed to keep enough of them off not to worry about cooking a few (yes, last year we found some cooked even after I had meticulously cleaned them).

Hopefully Caterpillar free
Then there is the tomatoes. Lots of lovely red ones. The dark one I planted (not sure what type but will look it up) has started to ripen but not enough to pick yet. Gardeners Delight is the other type I like to plant, mum likes the small type and this produces lots of lovely cherry red small tomatoes.

For mum
Next year I would like to try growing some that can be made into a strong puree which I can then freeze. Not something I've tried before, but then there are many things I have tried this year for the first time.

Finally there is the runner beans. We have picked a few so far but they took their time to recover after I dug them up from the plot. The French beans didn't make it, all died.

Runner beans
We still have a few of the potatoes left, getting through them slowly. Mum still has some of her Desiree left, she gave a few of them to my brother, makes me laugh that he will accept my potatoes but won't talk to me (we don't get on at all).

Hope you are all picking lots from your plots or gardens. I am looking forward to my Sweet potatoes, not sure when they will be ready or even how I will tell. The Sweetcorn is getting plump too.