Green Tomato Relish

This recipe needs to be started the day before. 

A great change from store bought tomato sauce or as we call it "train smash" a little extra sugar will make it more appealing to children, no funny additives or colours, just good honest food.

2 kg green tomatoes
2 onions, sliced
2 green peppers
4 green chillies, optional
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground alspice
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 cup soft dark brown or muscavado sugar
1 1/2 cups malt or cider vinegar (I use dyc brand)

Mark a cross in the bottom of each tomato and pour over boiling water, stand until the skins loosen, then drain and peel.

Chop the tomatoes, onions, green peppers and chillies.  Add to a large enamel or stainless steel saucepan in handfuls sprinkling with salt as you go.  Leave to stand overnight or for 12 hours.

Drain off the excess liquid and add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to the boil and boil for 30 minutes stirring regularly.  Use a stick blender to whiz to a suitable consistency, a smooth sauce suits bottles and can be used as a tomato sauce substitute, but a chunky relish is great for spooning out into sandwiches and onto cheese boards.

Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme

With the wonders of technology, I am happily posting while somewhere in Brazil, by now I am most likely (all things going smoothly) in Sao Paulo, perhaps you'll be able to see on my profile page on Facebook where I am, have a look and see Laura Faire

As promised my second favourite thing to do with cherry tomatoes (first is eating them still warm from the sun while in the garden).

Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme

oven-dried cherry tomatoes Autumn 2011
Preheat the oven to 150ÂșC.

Wash all the cherry tomatoes you can harvest, discard any that are under-ripe or over-ripe and halve the rest.  Place cut side up on a baking tray and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh thyme.

Bake for about 3 hours until shriveled and starting to brown around the outside.  Leave to cool on trays before packing into sterile jars and covering with extra virgin olive oil.  Seal and store until ready to use.  Keep in the fridge once opened.

Real Almond Pesto

Quick before the basil is all over! We had to harvest it, we were going away, pesto really is a great way to store it and like I said before, this stuff tastes great, so much better than the little plastic containers filled with green stuff in the shops.  I just hope it survives in the jars until I get home, to hedge my bets a few jars are in the freezer, I look forward to letting you know if this works out.  Righto, enough from me, rambling on.

This recipe is not exact as I have no idea how much basil you have, taste regularly and adjust as you go.

Real Almond Pesto

about 100g of almonds
lots of basil, perhaps 4 super large handfulls

1/2 cup canola oil (any neutral oil will work)
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic 
75g grated parmesan
1-2 teaspoons of mineral salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the almonds in a blender and whiz up until finely ground (you can use ground almonds).

Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse until a paste begins to form.  Taste and adjust the salt, pepper or olive oil.  Pulse and taste again and adjust again if necessary.
Continue to pulse until a good smooth texture is reached.
Spoon into sterilise jars and bang on the bench a few times to remove air bubble.  Pour a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil over the top to further reduce the chance of air spoiling the pesto.  Seal and store in the fridge.

Harvest Time!

Before disappearing on honeymoon we had to bring in the tomatoes and basil.  A sink full and more of tomatoes, home-grown with all that basil has kept me bustling all afternoon amidst delicious smells.

Over the next few weeks 
I will share my harvest recipes

Keeping things moving while I am away, because seasonal food never stops! I hope that these recipes are timely with the glut in your own garden, or even the low seasonal prices in the shops.

Keep an eye out for Real Almond Pesto. "Real" because as I ate my home-grown, home-made pesto by the spoonful today, I thought how much more sublime homemade pesto is than the bought stuff. I recalled that it was a flavour that sent me into raptures when I first tried it, so much so that I remembered the very first pesto I ever had!  It was at "Sagio di vino" in Christchurch.  These guys were my first favourite restaurant, and it saddens me that they were damaged in the quake, please support them when they re-open after the earthquake damages have been repaired (to find out when they re-open, keep an eye on their website at

Also this month there will be trays of Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme, packed in oil and stored to give you access to summer throughout the winter months. Perhaps I am just a girl who fell in love with food in the nineties, but sun-dried tomatoes and semi-dried tomatoes need not be relegated to the back of the cupboard because of fashion.  A sun-dried tomato, especially a homegrown one will transform a pizza, is great tossed through couscous or brown rice, kicks a grilled chicken breast up the backside with a much needed burst of flavour, and the little ones, stored under oil with a twig of thyme and piled onto grill bread makes a grunty starter.

Because we had to harvest all the tomatoes before we take off for Brazil, we had to pick the green ones too.  No problem Green Tomato Relish is the stuff that makes a hamburger stand up and start talking.  I like to keep a selection of homemade relishes, jams, chutneys and pickles, not only are they an excellent way of preserving all that garden labour, but they make great koha as they are generally unique and always made with love.

And as if these aren't enough recipes to keep you going while I travel (at least until I get to South Africa, where I should be able to check in...)  I will also share my simple Passata recipe.  Passata is bottled pureed tomato, useful in any recipe that might call for canned, crushed or chopped tomatoes, pasta sauce or tomato pizza base sauce.  I flavour mine subtly with minimum fuss and never really manage to make enough to get me through the winter.

So, keep and eye on the blog as thanks to the new-fangled scheduling tool, there should be plenty going on.

See you in mid April!

 L  xx

Kiwis and Recreational Fishing

Relevant recreational quota info:

Cockles: 50 per person per day
Mussels: 25 per person per day

For more information go to:

Some facts about us and fishing according to the Colmar Brunton Survey from 2007:

    * Nearly all (88%) New Zealanders eat fish at least once a month
    * Almost half of us (45%) eat fish at least once a week
    * Only one quarter of all New Zealanders fished recreationally more than once in the past 12 months
    * 25% have never fished recreationally in New Zealand
    * 6 out of 10 recreational fishers report that they are satisfied with their catch
    * 65% of New Zealanders think that both recreational and commercial fishers should be required to catch less if there is not enough fish to meet demand
    * More than half (56%) of the recreational fishers agree
    * 85% of New Zealanders think that up to 10 fish per recreational fisher is a reasonable daily allowance and 85% of recreational fishers agree (the current limit is 20 for most finfish)
    * 64% of New Zealanders think that it is reasonable to require recreational fishers to record their catch and more than half (55%) of the recreational fishers agree.

Also a link to buy Al Browns amazingly fantastic book on amazon (its packed full of information and in my opinion the best NZ seafood book on the market):  Go Fish: Recipes and Stories from the New Zealand Coast