Wednesday, October 19, 2005

From Scarecrow to Paltrow

So here I am again, to continue where I left off on Tuesday – gosh was that only yesterday, I seem to pack so much into each day that I sometimes can’t believe it!

I arrived home and had just enough time to metamorphose from scarecrow to Paltrow before Pat came home. O.K. perhaps the Gwenyth Paltrow bit is a hyperbole, but viewed in the mirror without my contact lenses in, I can easily see myself as a supermodel or scarecrow!

I had just started to prepare lunch, and as always got a bit carried away – that will go on my epitaph but not for at least 45 years or more God willing.

My intention was to do salmon with a simple ratatouille with some of the vegetables I have picked over the past couple of days. But of course, as you are probably getting to realise I am easily sidetracked.

From my last lottie BLOG you will see that I had completely forgotten about the 30lb of green tomatoes that were languishing in a chest of drawers in the garden shed.

It was with great trepidation that I went out there. I hesitantly opened the bottom drawer, withdrew the sheet of newspaper to reveal…… another arc of my learning curve. Yes there were lots of lovely red tomatoes mixed with the green…that is the good news. The bad news was that I left them on the vine – well you always see these adverts in the supermarket and the paper about the tomatoes being so much better left on the vine don’t you, and I never read anywhere about not doing so. DON’T DO IT! What I did not realise was that the vines go mouldy, must be the moisture in them or something, but they were like furry triffids. The tomatoes were fine though. I picked all of them off the vine, replaced the paper and put back the green ones. I did the same with the next two drawers and came away with a huge washing up bowl heaped to the top with ripe tomatoes.

SO, I thought that whilst I was doing lunch for just the two of us, it would be just as easy and more economical as the oven was on, to do a bit more and freeze it. I ended up using a large amount of the tomatoes, the leeks from yesterday, a few big onions, all the peppers I picked, 4of the cucumbers – deseeded, one of the small pale green pumpkins you can see in an earlier blog, half a butternut squash (we had the other half the day before) a jar of roasted peppers from Lidl (£1.89) because I wanted to add a bit more colour, I think that was it I put it all in my giant plastic bowl with some glugs of virgin olive oil just to give it a shine, mixed it all up with my (clean) hands; I just love the feel of that bit, and poured it all into two big baking trays. You can see the results in the photos. If you click on the photos to enlarge the picture, you can see that in the baking tin the ratatouille is cooked so that everything is just tender. This is so that when frozen, then later thawed I have the option of microwaving it to eat as a side vegetable, I can throw in some curry powder or herbs and make an almost instant curry or mediterranean dish, I can lay fish on top and roast it for 10 - 15 minutes and it will have that lovely caramally roasted look, turn it into a soup, or add it to a stew or casserole - the list of things to do with this is endless, so I won't go on about it your imagination will do the rest.

In this photo of my fish dish, I used more tomatoes, and some small diced up chunks of butternut squash, lots of dried basil (my fresh has run out) and some freshly ground pepper and some olive oil. A feast for two in one dish - less washing up! This photo is the 'before' one, we were ravenous by the time it was cooked so didn't stop to take a photo, but trust me, we ate the lot!

This is the 9lbs of ratatouille to freeze for winter use.

Doesn’t it look lovely and pretty?

I love colourful food. Don't you?

This year up the lottie has been worth every minute, when you sit down on a wet and miserable day and get to eat summer food.

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