Sunday, August 25, 2019

Queenly Tomato Adventures

A tomato may be a fruit, but it is a singular fruit. A savory fruit. A fruit that has ambitions far beyond the ambitions of other fruits. ― E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
One of my favourite things about this time of year is when folks start offering the excess from their gardens up to anyone who will take them. I've come home with beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, cantaloupes, and even a huge spaghetti squash. Last Friday, I came home with these lovely tomatoes:


It can be hard to get through tomatoes, especially when it's just the hubby and me eating them around here. I get into vegetable "ruts" where I pull out the regular veggies that I'm used to eating all year round just by force of habit. Tomatoes tend not to be on that list. Recently, I've had a fascination with making tomato chutney, ever since I watched an interview with Kate Middleton where she describes her first Christmas with the Queen. Kate was the lucky/unlucky person to pull the Queen's name for the family gift exchange, and after much deliberation, decided to give HR Elizabeth II a HOMEMADE gift: a jar of her own chutney. And apparently, it was well-received. And if the Queen likes chutney, well I must give it a go myself. I dug around in my recipe books for a recipe for tomato chutney which looked doable and decided this was the weekend for chutney experimentation.

Bulk Barn had a sale this weekend, so I loaded up on dried cranberries, dried strawberries and sunflower seeds for my regular repertoire scones and muffins. I also picked up a bunch of sultanas and crystallized ginger for my royal foray. I chopped up the tomatoes, some onions, some cooking apples, and then dumped in the fruit and ginger. The colours were so pleasing to me that I stopped to take a photo. I figured I may as well enjoy the look of it all while I was making it, just in case it turned out to be a disaster: 


After about an hour of simmering, it looked pretty close... except I realized at this stage that I really should have chopped up that ginger into smaller pieces. I fished most of them out with a wooden spoon and sort of hacked away at them until they were a bit more of a respectable size:


I spooned the lovely, sticky mixture into warmed jars and sealed them... and when I heard the lids pop as they cooled down, I knew I'd done a good job:


And did I taste it? Yes, I did. It's lovely and vinegary and gingery and salty and relishy... the kind of flavour that will go well with burgers and chicken and hot dogs... or even on a cracker. Would the Queen eat it? I have no way to test this properly, but I think she'd at least serve it on the table. Which is what she did with Kate's chutney. Which is about the best result I think you can hope for.

Meanwhile, the rest of my weekend was supposed to be for relaxing, but I'm finding out that's hard to do when there's a fresh haul of Bulk Barn ingredients and fresh tomatoes to play with. While the chutney was cooking, I made a batch of strawberry scones:


And this morning, I made a mountain of bran muffins, which have been my post-workout snack recently. These are made with Greek yogurt filled with tasty cranberries, dried apricots, and sunflower seeds:


This evening, I used one of the tomatoes to dress the Shrimp Po' Boy sandwiches I made for dinner:


And I've only just now realized that this purple one is... oddly shaped:


All this cooking has sort of worn me out, but I'm still making good progress on this shawl. I'm proud to report that, after a few stops and starts and fiddling around with needle sizes, the brioche section is complete. And what a satisfying stitch. I was really unsure about it at first, but once I did a bit of reading and realized I needed to go down a couple of needle sizes (which entailed a lot of ripping out of stitches and a trip to the yarn shop), I think this is now my new favourite stitch:


I'm on the home stretch with this shawl. All I need now is to not run out of yarn... which, if you've spent any time reading this blog you know is my constant battle:


... as is the battle over where Seymour is allowed to sit on the couch. Which is a battle it appears I am losing:


Oh well. Time to walk off the po' boys. Have a good week!

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