I'll set the scene, early last Saturday morning hours before our Manatsu pop up we were standing at Jenny's stall as she unpacked (which is a major rule breaker, there has been threats of beatings for doing such a thing),we where talking about things we really needed for the pop up, namely stripped marrows. We wondered if Dennis Healy would have some. The final few boxes were being unpacked and low and behold in front of our eyes there sat a box, a wonderful box of stripped marrows. It was perfect, it's rarely as perfect, but then Jenny lifted the box away and hidden beneath our miracle marrows lay aurora tomatoes, the first we had seen since last October. The sizes all different, plump and shiny. We hugged, we told Jenny of our love for her and offered hugs....they were rejected, we hugged again. I ran around and we then bought a bag of them. Junko came over to the kitchen to begin prep for Manatsu and I offered her one, she made that noise Japanese people make when they're amazed. It was cool. Here are two tomato facts!
- Tomatoes are healthier for you when cooked (none of that raw stuff)
- Tomatoes and strawberries can be interchangable (see icecream recipe)
So, there you go. We all love tomatoes, we only really eat them seasonally. It becomes a little sad and tomato-less from November to May. We celebrate when we have them and so we have decided to dedicate this weekes menu to the tomato. Each course will have the little gems in it, in some way of another and it'll be fantastic. Here's the breakdown!
1. Summer Tomato Cocktail - I don't know how to explain this so here's the recipe:
1/4 heirloom tomato 30gr honey dew melon 1 strawberry 45ml gin 14ml lemon 7ml simple syrup
Muddle the tomato, melon, and strawberry together in a shaker to a consistent, smooth texture. Then add the gin, lemon, and simple syrup. Shake the ingredients together with ice vigorously, then double strain into a glass.
2. Heirloom tomato plate - this is truly inspired by Jess of Kai who holds a similar passion for tomatoes to ourselves, its plate of tomatoes, different varieties.
3. Courgette salad - with the ribbons of courgette we plan to make a beautifully summer dressing using the tomato juice.
4. Ceviche with gooseberry and fennel - this is an Ecuadorian style ceviche and it'll be supper special!
5. Miso soup with squash - We'll blend the red miso with the super tasty tomato seeds, this has a super umami style affect on the tomatoes
6. Summer fruit icecream with wood sorrel lemonade - Tomato is a fruit, aww yeah. This is a gelati style dessert, we'll also be serving it with basil gelati and some buffalo ricotta gelati from Toonsbridge. The wood sorrel lemonade is an interesting drink that I'm fairly excited about!
7. Raw milk cheese board - why not have some of our delicous tomato jam and tomato chutney with your cheeses, we'll be featuring corleggy and young buck on the boards with some tasty crackers.
There you have it and while we are at it, here's a our tomato jam recipe:
2kg tomatoeschopped fresh basil 1 red onion chopped125gr brown sugar 325gr caster sugar 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon coriander ¼ teaspoon cumin tablespoon cider vinegar tablespoon apple balsamic vinegar
Clean tomatoes, removing any stems. Cut an X in each tomato end with a sharp knife.
Prepare an ice water bath.
Bring water to a boil. Keep the heat on full and drop the tomatoes in. When the skin starts to peel, remove them to the ice bath. Empty the water and clean the pot.
Work over a baking trap and peel the skins off the tomatoes. Then squeeze the stem end to pop out the stem. Roughly chop the tomatoes and place them back into the dry pot.
Add all of the other ingredients to the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the mixture for about two to three hours or until it reduces to a thick jam. Make sure you don’t let it burn. The cooking time depends on the amount of liquid in the variety of tomatoes you use so the timing is not an exact science however the finished product will be about 1kg.
Store in glass jars in the fridge for two weeks.
Also this week our final supper on the Saturday is happening in Establshed in Belfast a very beautiful cafe with very wonderful people. We are legging it up on the Saturday morning and we'll be knocking out some magical brunch for the afternoon and then we're down to business for the night, there'll be 16 spots up for grab with more details to follow later to day! Exciting times to be had!
Well you've read down this far so I'll give you one last recipe for the road. Here's out tomato gelato recipe
1kg of heirloom tomatoes - chopped 250ml of simple syrup a pinch of course sea salt
Puree tomatoes in processor until smooth. Strain through fine sieve, pressing on solids to release enough tomato puree to measure 500ml. Add chilled simple syrup and pinch of coarse sea salt to strained tomato puree; stir to blend.
Transfer tomato mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions, or stick in freezer, whip up every 30min of so till gelati is formed, cover and keep frozen.