Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tomato Tarte Tatin

I introduced this years blogging by bragging about my garden, especially my tomatoes and chillies. This is all good and well, but who would have thought that 6 tomato trees could yeild enough tomatoes to keep a small Italian village in stock for a month? Not to mention the little chilli tree which is thriving and producing the largest green chillies I have ever seen!

I'm not the only blogger out there producing bounty in her garden. My friend Tandy at Lavender and Lime also has some great vegetables in her garden. This weeks challenge from Tandy was to feature chillies in a dish.

I decided to spread my creative wings and make a dish which not only showcased my creativity (and humility) but mostly my beautifully semi-organic tomatoes.

Tomato Tarte Tatin
200g Puff Pastry (Shop bought is fine)
8 medium sized Tomatoes, cut in half
1 Green Chilli
1 Clove of Garlic chopped (optional)
Olive Oil
5ml Sugar
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Egg wash for pastry
Thyme flowers for garnish (optional)

Pre- heat the oven to 220ÂșC
In a oven proof pan, place the tomatoes with a little oil flesh side down.
Fry on a gentle heat for 2 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and turn off the heat.
Leave to rest in the pan until room temperature.
Roll out the pastry to fit as a lid on the tomatoes.
Place the pastry on the tomatoes, tucking in the sides and brush with egg.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Invert on a serving plate, leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle with some thyme flowers (optional garnish)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Kedgeree and Didgeridoo

I love reading and especially love unusual words. Some words just feel so good in my month - I find myself randomly staying words like didgeridoo, bamboozle, cowabunga, plutz or like yesterday when I couldn't get the word "kedgeree" out of my mind.

 It been blisteringly hot in Cape Town for the last week. I can neither face cooking or eating a big hot meal, after spending the day trying to find cool breezes to offer slight relief.

So back to kedgeree, this was something I enjoyed many Saturday mornings, when Dad would get up early and make the family big breakfast. Although I was never a fan of haddock, somehow kedgeree with the pieces of orange fish and boiled egg nestled in spicy rice always had me asking for seconds.

This is my take on kedgeree, adapted to my family's tastes fussiness.

Kedgeree Didgeridoo
Serves 3 -4 (depending on how hungry they are)

2 Cups Cooked Rice (cooked al dente)
400g Smoked Haddock
4 Boiled Eggs, cut into 8th's (I boil them medium not blue)
1 Large Onion sliced
½ teaspoon Curry powder
1-2 Green Chillies chopped (this is to taste)
Salt and Pepper
1 Tomato peeled, seeds removed and chopped (garnish)
Thyme leaves (garnish)

Poach the haddock in water until just cooked.
Strain and keep the liquid- set aside.
Fry the onion in a little oil until golden, add the curry powder and chilli and fry for 1 minute.
Add the rice and add ½ cup of the poaching liquid.
Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, until rice is properly soft.
Season and if you want to have more sauce, add more poaching liquid.
Add the fish, which you break into pieces and the eggs.
Turn off the heat.
Garnish with tomato and thyme.
I served my warm rather than hot, but it's equally nice hot.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Growing into 2011

Welcome back to Homemade Heaven. I've just returned from a wonderful summer holiday. I had a great rest and am back fully inspired to make wonderful food and share great out door experiences with you.

So to start off the year I want to give you something special from my garden.

A few years ago I was known as the Grim Reaper of the plant world. When I walked through garden centres and nurseries you could almost hear the plants screaming out in pain - trying not to get picked up by me.

I was never put off by the fact that everything I bought died a painful death. I continued to persevere in buying plants full of energy, taking them home and then I'd fane surprise that after 2 weeks of neglect they would be dead. I blamed the weather, the nursery that sold defective plants, not having the perfect place to plant things....the list just goes on and on. I have never been one short of excuses!

This all changed about 3 years ago when I started to investigate what exactly I was doing (or in my case not doing) which resulted in everything dying. Turns out that plants need love, water, weeding and a lot more work than I ever realised.

I turned over a new leaf (okay you can laugh now) and started focusing on planting things that I can eat. The excitement of planting a baby tomato tree and then 2 months later, picking the beautiful red gems of goodness and the feeling of creation in your hands just can't be beaten.

I really need to give special thanks to Keith for installing the automatic sprinkler system this year - without which my babies wouldn't have lived through the Cape Town heatwave while I was away on holiday .

Last night, Meatless Monday, was a feast of home grown goodness. Freshly picked tomatoes, chillies, oregano and thyme.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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