Bottling Up Tomato Sauce
There is no time to really fall in love with England then when you’re in the countryside on an Indian summers day, glorious colours and light and with that magical feeling of change in the air. We have been working from Jemima’s place in Somerset on and off this early September- as she awaits her impending bundle- and from here enjoying the end of the summer glut, vegetables and fruit are still in wonderful abundance in the vegetable garden and the trees and brambles surrounding. We have been harvesting a bounty of courgettes, tomatoes, apples, pears and berries- feeling like age-old pagans gathering away with big baskets and nesting down for the winter- romanticising like we are in some great novel taking care of the land and house. What a joy and a sense of extraordinary wholeness it brings to grow your own, a chance to experience a profound respect and understanding of an ingredient and giving it the respect it deserves. Vegetables grown nearby, so you get them freshly harvested, and in their right season, are the best - packed full of flavour, and better for you too. As summer dips into autumn tomatoes are at their finest, just before the plants wither to a crisp and head off to the compost. Full and heavy and in magnificent shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. The idea of preparing another capresse salad or chilled soup has now lost us. As we come inside and stand by the Arga in the late afternoon, a nip in the air, we crave something a little warmer, a little heartier. We do this by roasting huge trays of tomatoes, of all shapes and sizes, with garlic, herbs, olive oil and a little chili. By cooking them this way it slowly allows the natural sugar in the tomatoes to caramelise, it also allows for complete kitchen ease and the most delicious of sauces, that will always taste fresh and new. So gathering up all the juicy ripe tomatoes, farmers markets and your local greengrocer will have boxes on sale and save them with this method of roasting and jarring- will take you through the autumn and winter days. Perfect for coming home late from work and needing a quick fix pasta, or even adding it to a curry or soup- you will find it difficult to open a tin of tomatoes again. Such a wonderful way to use up the end of the summer glut- bottling up one of nature's most magical gifts- the tomato.