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.
Autumn is a great time of year for devising recipes. The end of summer is usually peak time for lots of different vegetable produce. With so much that is at its best in terms of taste and freshness there are exciting possibilities. Here's a dish that came mostly from my own garden but you should be able to find all the ingredients at a local market in Tasmania. This salad was excellent warm and just as satisying when the cold leftovers had their turn on the table.
Gluten-free & nut free: yes!
Low-fat: use a low-fat dressing instead of the infused oil
Variations: try a different root vegetable instead of or in addition to the beetroot. Try grilled tomatillos in place of the tomatoes.
I guess you could call them burgers. Rissoles. Delicious. Or all of the above!
I wasn't feeling well last week and made myself some pumpkin soup thanks to the advice from Jessica S. That got me thinking a little bit about pumpkin and whether I could do something a little bit different with it. In particular, because it's deep summer here in Australia, I was looking something that would work on a barbecue. Something that would be filling and interesting and itself, yet also go with summery salads and salsas. This is actually the first version and I'm very happy with it; I hope you'll try it. I had the leftover ones in a burger bun with tomato, dill pickles and radicchio (snobby Italian lettuce) and they were great :-)
Makes: 6 patties
Gluten-free: swap the wholemeal wheat flour for buckwheat flour (which, despite the name, is not related to wheat). And try rolling cornmeal or almond meal instead of breadcrumbs. Good to go!
Low-fat: Go for the grill option or use a non-stick pan with no oil.
Variations: add some fresh garden peas for little pops of extra flavour in the burger.
I was thinking about what to do with broccoli recently. A lot of people like it, of course, and it's also crushingly good for you, so why not come up with some interesting ways to use it? In particular I was looking for something that could be a savoury breakfast item.
These muffins are pretty quick to make and are also good as a snack, a lunchbox item or perhaps on a party platter. I hope you'll give this recipe a try! Any feedback welcome.
Muffins don't keep well in my opinion so make them close to when you will use them...best fresh out of the oven and still warm!
Being the middle of winter there are lots of brassicas around. At the Farm Gate Market last weekend I picked up some giant mustard greens. They were so big they intimidated me for a few days (!), then I thought I'd just do something fairly simple with them in a more-or-less traditional Chinese style. This recipe is so simple even a caveman (or -woman) could do it, and yet surprisingly satisfying. The steaming tempers the pungency of the mustard greens and the other ingredients work together to give some lift and texture.
So here goes!
1 bunch mustard greens
1/2 red capsicum (or orange or yellow)
1/3 cup vegan oyster sauce
1 Tbsp crispy fried onions
1/4 lemon or lime
Cooking Times: 5 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 0
We blog about once a month on vegan and food topics in and around Hobart.