The days are getting shorter and there’s a touch of chill in the air. As Autumn gets his feet under the table it’s time to stock up for the barren months ahead. Nothing evokes the taste of sunshine more than a home-produced tomato sauce. A vibrant orangey reminder of warmer days past. So when I gathered a bucketful of tomatoes from the polytunnel my first stop was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s latest book River Cottage Veg everyday!. Hugh FW is a man to be admired. Not only for his stance on ethical food production but also for sticking with that cumbersome double-barrelled, five-syllabled surname which I’m sure it’s had many a PR person eating their words. His book has a great recipe for roasted tomato sauce which I made last week.
I cut all the tomatoes in half and laid them face up on a baking tray. They were then sprinkled with salt and pepper. I threw in some thyme sprigs and garlic cloves and drizzled the lot with olive oil. With a nifty little shuffle to ensure maximum oil coverage I put them in the oven (preheated to 180ºC) for 45 minutes. This is were it got a bit tricky: I then passed the contents of the tray through a sieve, using a wooden spoon to mush it through. You could use a mouli. The result was a terrific tasting tomato puree, all set to go in the freezer for a mid-winter feast.
To save energy I often take advantage of a hot oven and so I fill it up with other dishes, such as bakes, roasts or casseroles, if I can. In this instance I also roasted some cubed courgettes, which we ate, slathered in some of my freshly made tomato sauce and tossed with pasta. Delicious.
I still have lots of green tomatoes on the vines which will not be wasted…..watch this space!