Here in Tasmania it's been a long, hot summer, probably the hottest on record. Unfortunately this changing climate has a lot of downside for the island including more fire risk our beautiful wilderness areas (see Richard Flanagan's article for a brilliant summary of this). Some of our traditional crops and farming methods are not faring so well; bushfire smoke can easily ruin berry crops, for example.
The flip-side of this recent season is that many of us growing tomatoes at home have a bumper crop. I was at a friend's Chinese New Year celebration recently and there were cherry tomatoes in/on everything, so I could hardly bring him some from my garden, could I? Luckily tomatoes are so special that you can do a zillion interesting things with them so here's my take on a cherry tomato jam. The effect is somewhere in the middle ground between a pasta sauce and ketchup, and you might be surprised how versatile it is.
Use it for bumping up sandwiches to the next level: try on a piece of toasted sourdough with a layer of hommous, the cherry tomato jam, some black olives on top and shreds of cos lettuce. Use in place of ketchup in, well, everything. Stir it through cooked gnocchi and top with some freshly-chopped parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Spread it on grilled vegetables. Mixed it with a mashed avocoado to make a creamy relish. Add to a cooked pizza for an extra kick of tomato goodness. Fold through some cooked white beans for your own lovely 'baked beans'.
500g cherry tomatoes
1 Tbs raw sugar
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
black pepper to taste
Wash your 500g of cherry tomatoes. Depending on how big your cherry tomatoes are, halve or quarter them.
Place the the tomatoes in a small saucepan with 1 Tablespoon each of raw sugar and cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the 2 peeled cloves of garlic (left whole). Simmer for about half an hour on low heat until it starts to get a little sticky. There will be a lot of liquid to start with but it will thicken eventually.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and take out the 2 garlic cloves (keep for soup stock). Stir through 1/2 teaspoon each of paprika and thyme. Allow to cool and keep in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Time: 5 mins prep, 30 mins cooking, plus cooling time,
Gluten-free & nut free: yes
Variations: adjust the spices to send the jam in the direction of your choice. For example use zaatar for a Middle Eastern style jam, galangal powder and lemongrass for Thai/Southeast Asian, some cumin and fenugreek seeds for Indian/South Asian, and so on.
We blog about once a month on vegan and food topics in and around Hobart.