Monday, January 29, 2007

Let's Add a Bit of Colour to the Conversation!

At present, I've an abundance of cherry tomatoes on my tomato bushes (well, it would be a little odd if they were on my potato plants!). To be honest with you, not all my cherry tomatoes are on the bushes/vines, because I've picked a hell of a lot of them! So, you see, I have an abundance of cherry tomatoes in bowls in my kitchen, but that also is not entirely true. The reason being, I'm making a tomato sauce from the abundance of cherry tomatoes that were hogging my bowls in my kitchen, which originally were in abundance on the bushes/vines. That clarifies the situation!

Not wishing to waste the glorious fruits of the vines, a pot on my stove, containing the ingredients for an Italian-style tomato sauce, is sending out aroma-signals. Once the sauce is cooked, after simmering for quite a while, I will then freeze it in batches for further usage.

I grabbed one large onion, chopped it into little pieces; tossed it into a saucepan bearing some virgin olive oil, threw in a few garlic cloves, coarsely chopped and a couple of handfuls of fresh herbs from my herb garden. These herbs included curly and Italian parsley, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and basil, again chopped coarsely. (Nothing refined about Herb and me!)

To this concoction, I added a couple of packets of tomato paste, a sprinkle or three of powdered chicken stock, some freshly ground black pepper, splash of red wine from a re-corked bottle on my kitchen bench...umm...oh...yes...a little, teeny bit of water (we are on restrictions, remember!)....well, we're not on restrictions up here on the mountain, but that doesn't mean one has to waste water. I don't leave the tap running when I clean my teeth, but that's by the way. I am discussing food not the cleaning of teeth. I will leave that subject until another time and place. The kitchen is not a suitable area to do such a thing as cleaning one's teeth, or if in 'red-neck' country, tooth!

I did add a couple of teaspoonfuls of sugar, raw, to the witches' brew, as well. That's raw sugar as in 'raw sugar', not uncooked sugar as in raw sugar. After a moment or two, the 'raw' sugar is not only cooked, but it's dissolved into oblivion. If, of course, you added a raw piece of sugar cane, that's a whole different story!

For dinner last night, I absconded with some sauce I had already stored in my freezer, defrosted it, re-heated it, then tossed in some green prawns to the tasty mixture. In the meantime while all of this excitement was occurring, I cooked some fettucine al dente'. When the prawns and the pasta were cooked, coincidentally at the same time, a most delightful meal followed, even if I do say so myself. I have to say so myself as no one else was here to witness it. I could be telling 'porkies' for all you know...but I'm not!


  1. Lee,

    You can freeze whole tomatoes, you know. But you can only use them fo canning, cooking or whatever. Just put them in plastic ziplocks and go from there!

  2. Yes, I know, Neo...but I prefer making the sauce up in large batch and then freezing it into portions...all in one go.

  3. Sauce is good! Making them into big batches and freezing portions is good too!

  4. I'm hungry and it is only 16:10....I made a huge curry yesterday and the smells are still wafting thru the house. I may have to have an early dinner LOL

  5. I do it this way because I'm by myself and it seems pointless doing just a small amount for one meal when I may as well 'go the whole hog'...and do up a big batch. Plus, I've always got some in the freezer if unexpected visitors turn up (which isn't often) and I can turn it into a pasta dish or whatever else takes my fancy, by adding other ingredients to it, etc.

  6. For a while a few years back, I cooked in a town up in north Queensland, Ingham, which has a very strong and large Italian community. I used to have huge saucepans full of salsa...40 or more litres at any given time. And that lasted about a a day, if I was lucky! ;)

  7. I didn't notice you sneak in, Scorpy! lol

    I always seem to do this to you! You should learn to eat before you come into my blog! ;)

    Btw...I love curries, too!

  8. Don't you grow tomatoes on your potato plants? Why not?

    Your sauce sounds very tasty. I can remember when we lived on the farm, I put forty-eight tomato plants in, through black plastic. I had tomatoes from a..... to breakfast time. We ate them cooked and raw, I froze, bottled and gave them away. Of course the more I picked the faster they grew!

    They were rather like Hydras, grew heads willynilly!

    Enjoy your tomatoes, Lee.

  9. My expert style of gardening, Robyn, is throw out into my little plot any tomatoes that are over-ripe, potatoes with eyes/shoots, onions that have started to shoot etc., and what comes up, takes care of itself!

    My herbs seem to just take care of themselves and keep reproducing and multiplying as well! I should have my own gardening show on TV! ;)

  10. Lee, what a great post. You have a wonderful way with words, it was great fun to read.
    Your tomato sauce sounds oh-so-yummy ... my mouth was watering as I read about it.
    Hope you have a fabulous week.
    Take care, Meow

  11. It sounds utterly and wonderfully delicious! Yum Yum Yum! All the ingredients with those fresh home gown tomatoes and the home grown herbs...If you only lived closer! (Lol)

  12. Hi Meow...I see you're back from Bonnie the school year has begun, Chicky will be back in full swing, no doubt. I guess you're looking forward to Easter now for the next lengthy trip to Bonnie Doon.

    Hello, Myrtillo...we've not met before...nice of you to pop in. Thanks for doing so... :)

  13. Anonymous1:58 AM

    You are the queen of cooks. I can smell it through the screen. Must be coming through the speakers.

  14. Lee, husband No.2 was italian, at least his parents were, he was born in New Zealand. I spent 16 years living inside an italian family, with the nonas and the nonos, all of whom cooked, strangely enough, like italians, so I am no stranger to the 'everything has tomatoes' cooking culture - your sauce sounds perfecto!

    I CANNOT grow tomatoes here on the coast, I have tried, really tried, in ground, in pots, face South, face North - spray, fertilise, every variety you can name, but nothing, nada, no tomatoes... They grow to a good size, and then the whole plant turns brown and dies, including the tomatoes...

    Do I sound bitter? you betcha... I have always grown a 'salad' garden, until I came to live here. I still have herbs, a few - in pots.

    It might be the salt air, or the kerosine from the aeroplanes.


  15. I'm sorry to do that to you, Steve!! strange about you not being able to grow tomatoes down your way. Maybe the only thing left is to try a soil test to see what might be needed.

    The salt air shouldn't bother basil...there was a house next door to the Airlie Beach pub and to my amazement one day as I was strolling by, I noticed that the lush hedge around the house was all basil plants. The ocean is only metres away from the house and the pub, so I put the healthy-looking basil to the sea/salty air.

    Ahh, yes, Della...the Italians most certainly love their food and eat it and enjoy it with gusto. I had a 'friend' once who was from Emilia-Romagna. I've never seen anyone who loved bread as much as he did!

    I've a few tales from my short time in Ingham, too...I think the saying is "they live to eat'! Italian food is my favourite cooking of all...and eating!

  16. gawd how i love spagetti sauce! When my kids were young my neighbors were italian. Every Sunday she would cook up a large pot of sauce... so.. every sunday I went over for "coffee" but actually sat there with a cup full of sauce to "taste"!!

  17. It appears my abundance of tomatoes has conjured up an abundant array of memories...G'day, DesLily. :)

  18. all i want is: a home among the gum trees... with lots of tomatoe trees, some sauce or two, made a new, a clothesline out the back.. veranda out the front and an old rocking chair! lol.. (the only cure is some spagetti sauce!!!)

  19. I sang along with you DesLily...thanks for certainly do know your Aussie stuff! :)

  20. LOL not really but I do love those 2 songs! I can thank a very nice young man named Chris (alais: Lightening Jack) for introducing them to me. I can hear them without thinking of him and wondering how he is. He was living in Queensland when I knew him.

  21. He has good taste, then DesLily...Queensland...beautiful one day, perfect the next! ;)

  22. Lee,
    Love tomatoes! Up until a couple years ago we grew enough for all of upstate NY. Lately just enough for fresh daily and adozen or so quarts of sauce.

    Started veggie gardening in 1972. Do the all organic thing don't ya know.

    If you wanted a witness, an invite would find me at your table soon enough.

  23. You're always welcome at my table, Rel!

    Did you know that tomatoes, although very good for you raw, are even better for you when cooked?

    I eat a lot of tomatoes...I love them...particularly with a little salt, freshly ground black pepper, a splash or three of cider vinegar and fresh, fresh bread! Yum!

  24. Dang, Lee, you are making me hungry! I rememer as a kid going out to the garden with nothing but a salt shaker! I gorged on tomatoes until I was sick! And everything else from cucumbers to squash - nothing but a salt shaker! Good memories!

  25. Simplicity is the best, isn't it, Neo...and there's nothing like fresh vegies straight from the garden...ahhhh...peas in the pods straight from the vines!

    My neighbours gave me a cucumber straight from their vine the other day...I ate it all in one go! ;)

  26. Lee, you are right! I remember eating cucumbers straight from the garden. They weren't the large variety, but the pickle size! As soon as they grew into some semblance of a pickle, I ate them! Same with squash, although as a kid, I didn't like it cooked. Now I love it! Goes to show ya!

    I had two apple trees in my back yard and my ex told me to either do something with them or he would cut them down (seems he didn't like mowing around apples!). Anyway, I made apple butter and apple pie filling. The apple pie filling was the easiest! Simply place the apple pie filling in a pie pan and freeze. Once frozen, lift the filling from the pan and wrap in foil. I had twenty or thirty stacked up, ready for the pie crust!

  27. Sounds good to me, Neo. No apple trees here where I live, but stacks of avocado trees, oranges, lemons, mandarins and rhubarb, plus whatever comes up in my herb/vegetable garden. Every now and then a stray, rampant pumpkin vine lets loose. I know you use pumpkins over your way for pumpkin pies, mostly...but I love pumpkin...roasted, boiled and 'smashed' or added to salads. I've got a few good recipes using pumpkin in salads. Again, I use my tried and true gardening method...I toss the seeds out when I'm preparing pumpkin to roast or steam! ;)

  28. Hi Lee ~~ Sounds terrific- all that cooking and sauce in the freezer. I
    used to make a lot of sauce, chutney or relish, but don't any more. have plent of large and cherry tomatos on my bushes (tomato, not potato) and love them raw, or cooked with onion,and capsicum. Nearly always add that to meals I make. I love the way you sow seeds - just throw out things and they grow !!
    Take care and keep coming up with your stories. Your dreams are spectacular and the fun post was just that.!! Love, Merle.

  29. Glad you're enjoying my posts, Merle...thanks for visiting and commenting. :)

  30. Hi, Lee. Wonderful photos. I can smell that sauce from here! You cook it much as I do, by the way, and I am glad to learn that you, too, freeze it. [Sicilians preserve it in jars. I find freezing it in small quantities much easier - after all, you can always defrosrt more than 1 lot if you are feeding several people.]

  31. So true, Welsh. Plus freezing it is so much less hassle than bottling it. All the sterilization that has to go on before, during and after takes up too much time...and sweat!

    During winter 2005, I was making a lot of pickles, jams, chutneys etc., but once summer arrived, I gave up and didn't take it up again in 2006. I had a mini-factory going on here in my kitchen and back room...bottles, labels, fabric for fancy trims on the finished product and huge pots for the sterilizing baths etc. I would set up a stall outside the property here on Sunday mornings for about four hours. I made cakes and biscuits/cookies sort became the 'tiger by the tail' syndrome. It kept growing and growing and I couldn't get off the merry-go-round there for a while!

    I'd load up my car with boxes filled with all of the above and drive around to the front of the property where I had a table hidden away in the trees. Pull the table out and set it up on the edge of the road. Then I'd sit in my car under a shady tree, reading the Sunday paper and/or a book and wait for my customers to arrive. I didn't want to leave the goods unattended. I'm not that trusting of people.

    It all began with me making some mint sauce when my mint was rampantly taking over and I hated seeing it go to waste. The mint sauce proved successful so my venture into the other seemed the logical next step! Even one of the local green grocers here on the mountain purchased my jars of goodies from me. But I've given it up.

    Plus last year, the council and road builders came along and decided to build a new round-about on the corner in a size fit for a major city and they took a few months to complete the monstrosity, so that took the fun out of it for me, as well! ;)

  32. If I remember correctly (iirc, in internet speak), you can graft tomatoes onto potatoes and get the best of both worlds. I know this because my father is an organic gardener since before organics were even heard of (Before 1970).

    Anyway, tomatoes and potatoes use different nutrients from the soil, so even if you don't graft, you can still grow them in the same soil.

    My father composts leaves all winter long, turning the compost to kill any seeds or weeds that might be lying dormant.

    Anyway, in the spring, he plants potatoes in the middle, then a ring of corn around that, followed by a ring of tomatoes around that. Each of them don't compete with the other, so he gets about a gazillion of everything in a circle about 1.5 meters in diameter.

    Just keep an eye out for "suckers" at branch junctions. Both corn and tomatoes grow them, but my father can see them from about two cities away, and just pinches and pulls them out. He explained that suckers don't produce fruit, or prevent the corn from growing.

    Suckers always grow at a leaf (corn) or branch (tomatoe) junction.

  33. Yes, you should pick off the main centre shoot on tomato bushes...this makes them produce more efficiently and proficiently.

    Once you've gathered your potato crop, it is advisable not to grow another crop of potatoes in that particular area.

    Everything grows together in my garden plot...and re-sows year after year!

    I've got a communal plot going down my end of the property with my landlords as well now. We're going to share the crops. Presently, zucchinis have just begun to flower after only about 3-4 weeks planted. I've got broccoli seeds to sow once the weather cools down. We're also going to plant Chinese cabbages, lettuce and shallots in there. I want to throw in some beetroot plants also, and some silverbeet. I've got spinach in my other garden that will come up again, I'm sure when the weather cools. It did last season.

    I don't spray...I never have used spray on my plants, whether here or elsewhere. If the moths, snails and caterpillars want a snack, they can! I'm not mean. ;)

    A spray out of garlic and water the magically 'they' say.

    Oh...I've got lots of garlic growing, too.

    Thanks for popping in, Don...nice to see you. :)

  34. Once you've gathered your potato crop, it is advisable not to grow another crop of potatoes in that particular area.

    Unless you replenish the nutrients with compost or other bio-organic matter.

  35. Well, I guess that is correct...but it certainly is better to rotate crops, I've read...not that I abide by that rule...but then I always test the rules and enjoy breaking them!

    The way I garden it is 'pot luck' and a good toss hoping that what I toss lands in my garden plot and then grows! It's all in the swing of the arm! ;)