Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What is the opposite of a Green Tomato?

One of the unintended consequences of being off work at the moment is that I am spending rather a lot of time in the kitchen. After the Flapjacks of Redemption, today was the turn of Opposite Tomato Sauce, which I write about because I'm sure it will help a few of you out and frankly, is just tear jerkingly delicious.

Like a lot of folk, we have had issues with our tomatoes ripening this year. We had plenty of plants, all with plenty of tomatoes, but the stubborn little suckers seemed determined to stay green. Rather than waste them, we picked them and today I had the opportunity to put them to good use.

On Monday, Mum brought a chicken with her to make a batch of chicken soup. Not only did it make an eight person vat of soup, it then went into the oven to be roasted and fed the four of us, with enough left on there to feed another four people in style – never let it be said us Llanitos can't make the most of a tasty bird!!

This is also where the green tomatoes come in because part of the Garcia Mercy Mission meant we had a small tub of sun dried tomatoes in the fridge. Not to be outdone in the thrift department, I decided to do a chicken pasta dish using up the available tomatoey treats – a kind of opposite tomato sauce.

The recipe, in true Llanito fashion is somewhat open to interpretation but I would really suggest you try it because the result is the most incredible sweet and sour tomato sauce with just the merest hint of ooh la la!!

Opposite Tomato Sauce

1 red chilli
3 cloves of garlic
1 onion
10 green tomatoes
1 Small tub of sun dried tomatoes
1 Stock Cube
Sugar (to taste)
Sherry (large glug)

Roughly chop all of the ingredients and stick them in a pan with a good slug of sherry and enough water to just cover everything.

Clamp on a lid and set on a really slow bubble for as long as you can stand to wait

Blitz the sauce until smooth and adjust the sugar and seasoning.

Mix with the pasta of your choice, either with left over meat or just as it is.

You can thank me later.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flapjacks of Redemption

Day One of maternity leave and I have already been caught up in the baking and jamming excitement of recent days. Having some oat based crumble topping let from the weekend, my sister Mich very helpfully suggested I turn it into flapjacks without truly realising the magnitude of what she has said.

My last attempt at flapjacks was a disastrous tale of woe which frankly has left me in a cold sweat ever since. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I find that when I start to follow the teachings of a celebrity chef, allow them bit by bit into my world and give them the responsibility or my own culinary success. On the odd occasion that one of these chefs sells me a pup, it is of course their fault, and not mine.

So it was that when I bought the last Red Nose recipe book in a fit of charitable fervour and tried Mr Oliver’s recipe for flapjacks. I was a little curious at the time as to why it said I needed to use an entire stick of butter, but who (I reasoned) was I to challenge the great man in this regard? If Jamie says it needs a stick of butter then a stick of butter it shall have!! When the flapjacks came out of the oven they looked perfect, absolutely perfect, and it wasn’t until a short cooling period later that I realised that these flapjacks were in fact self greasing.

Yup, once the flapjacks were turned out, it was clear to see that the inch or so of perfect flapjack was in fact perched proudly on another inch of pure fat. I was crushed, not least because I hadn’t spotted it before handing out the first pieces to Keith and Bill, who had spotted this hideous buttery error before me and made good with the teasing.

Two years on and I am still waiting for them to get tired of this story.

I think I could have happily hung up my flapjack making pinny on a permanent basis after that episode, but I decided to give it another go this morning and instead of risking further chefly disappointment, I decided to invent a flapjack recipe of my own taking into account the ingredients already mixed into the crumble topping and the various bits piled into the larder.

These, my friends are truly flapjacks of a different colour, and probably a one off venture unless I somehow manage to stumble on a similar set of circumstances. Who cares though, they have done the trick and finally silenced my tormentors.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Making the Most of What we have Got

As with a lot of situations in life, the closer we get to becoming three instead of two, the more we seem to be crying to cram into our precious free time.

We were down in Essex this weekend which gave Keith the perfect opportunity to indulge in a spot of night fishing with Bill.

I use the term 'spot' advisedly, because in reality what the boys indulged in was 6 hours of worm drowning which as you can see was met with some success (I'm told the tally was 3 species).

The intended victims for this trip were whiting, which I'm reliably informed have just come into season and which are a nice sustainable source of fishy goodness.

The boys did a wonderful job coming home with some decent sized specimens which were duly breaded and fried the next day for lunch, with some chips. They were deeeeeelicious, just don't let on to the menfolk, otherwise I'll never hear the end of it.

Today was a horse of an entirely different colour because today, we went to a photo shoot for one of the most amazing buses Retro Custom have built – P1G Bus – so called because of the company who own it, not because it's a hideous swamp donkey of a bus or anything.

Better still, it gave us the chance of meeting up with the lovely Bryn who recently sold us the Mighty Benz (Pt 2) and who is always wonderful company.

He fell victim to the delights of the P1G Bus in all its glorious detail and spent many, MANY hours snapping it from every angle and in every detail. I can totally understand why, this bus stole 2 weeks of the boys' lives as well as many nights of earache for the rest of us having to hear about how the build was going and not without reason, it is an absolute work of art.

It was the first time I'd been to one of these shoots and it was fun, especially from my vantage point on one of the special pod seats in the corner. I'm not entirely sure that a round seat is a good look for me at the moment, but hell, comfort beats vanity right now, hands down!