I like to think that I am an equal opportunities employer. Retired folk, pregnant women and small children will all get a job when they come to visit if they aren’t careful. Mr. Fairweather’s two nieces discovered this when they came over for the day. I had promised them a trip to town for hot chocolate and cake as is our tradition. We would also cook our own lunch and maybe even bake. Gluten free chocolate brownies anyone?
I digress. I apologise. Before we went to town though, there were jobs to be done. Chief among these was to harvest all the tomatoes. The weather is getting chillier; the rate of ripening has slowed; the mice have moved in to the tunnel. We brought out various pots and bowls and harvested everything – green and red and anything in between. Equal opportunities people.
But now what to do? This is where I turn back to Darina Allen and her fabulous book, Forgotten Skills of Cooking. Her section on chutneys is amazing. And the recipes so tasty I am surprisingly uninclined to mess with her recipes. Well. Apart from using eating apples instead of cookers and paying no attention to her timings – but surely they don’t count. There’s only so much chutney, no matter how delicious, that one can make. I dug up cake recipes and soup recipes and even invented a bread recipe – I think. I may venture to try a jam recipe I found as well. Let’s hope it fares better than marrow jam. Take it from me. If you’ve got a marrow glut, don’t make jam.
Back to the job in hand.
Ballymaloe Green Tomato Chutney
2 1/4 lbs cooking apples, (I used eaters as that’s what we had on the trees) peeled, cored and diced
1 lb onions, chopped
2 1/4 lbs green tomatoes, chopped
12 oz granulated sugar
12 oz Demerara sugar
1 lb sultanas
2 tsps ground ginger
2 tsps ground all spice
2 tsps ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 pints white wine vinegar
Put apples and onions in a wide stainless steel saucepan. I used a 5.5 litre pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, allowing it to simmer gently, uncovered until mixture has reduced by more than half. Darina claims that this takes 45 minutes. Any time that I have made it, it takes about three hours. Either way, stir the mix regularly so it doesn’t catch. The mixture should change colour gradually and go a lovely rich dark brown.
Pour into sterilised jars and cover with non-reactive lids. I run my old jam jars through the dishwasher or boil them up in another saucepan. The jars are roasting so it helps to have a tea towel or cloth to hold the jars while you fill and close. As they cool, a small vacuum develops and sucks the centre of the lid down and this is what gives you the pop when you open the jars up.
Darina also suggests waiting two weeks to allow flavours to fully develop. I can’t even wait for it to cool and will eat it from the saucepan. It goes with everything. Except possibly cornflakes or jam.
Green Tomato Cake
I came across this recipe over at Pizza and Other Bread. It is surprisingly moreish. Naturally I opted for all the extras. I would call them essentials – crushed nuts, coconut, sultanas. It’s gorgeous with a cup of tea on its own but I convinced myself that it was healthy enough for breakfast too.
2 cups demerara sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups finely chopped green tomatoes
1 cup sultanas
1 cup mixed nuts, crushed
1/2 cup dried coconut
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Mix sugar, oil and eggs together well. Sift flour, baking powder and spices into liquid and fold carefully. Add tomatoes, coconut, sultanas and nuts. Fold through the mix.
Divide mixture into two loaf tins (I opted for one loaf tin and two trays of muffins) and bake until a skewer comes out clear and cake surface springs back under finger. Takes my oven about an hour.
Savoury Green Tomato Bread
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bread soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup finely chopped green tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped olives
1/2 cup chopped mozzarella
Preheat oven to 180°C
Mix flour and bread soda together in a bowl. Lift handfuls of the mix and let it fall back into bowl to get as much air into the mix as you can. Stir in tomatoes, olives and cheese and get everything coated in the flour while still working air through the mix.
Add buttermilk and gently fold until just combined. Pour mixture into well greased loaf tin and bake until golden brown on top and hollow sounding when tapped from below. Wrap in wet towel and allow to steam to keep a soft crust.
I recommend you smother this in butter when eating.