Slow cooked tomatoes and generous gardeners

My sister Kerry is my Little Red Riding Hood often arriving with a basket of produce from her garden and hens.

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Included in Kerry’s basket were some tomatoes.  In our family I’m credited as the one who is the creative cook and my sister as a creative artist.  Kerry is reluctant to spend much time in the kitchen. Her rule is use fresh produce and make it easy and simple.  Perhaps her signature dish that’s a real family favourite is her slow cooked tomatoes with pasta.

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It’s an ideal recipe for the start of autumn when tomatoes are more appetising cooked than fresh as the nights become cooler. The secret to this recipe is to cook long and slow to caramelise and intensify the tomato flavours.

Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce

There are no measurements for this sauce, make as little or as much as you want.  Red Peppers are certainly a great addition to this sauce when they are available at a good price.

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Larger tomatoes cut into fat slices, smaller tomatoes in half or tiny cherry tomatoes just prick with a knife and cook whole. I love garlic so I would add one bulb of garlic by peeling off the cloves.  No need to skin the garlic. Once the sauce is cooked, I simply squeeze out the garlic puree into the tomato and discard the skins. If you cook the garlic without their skin they could burn.

Season well with salt and pepper and generously add olive oil.   You can use virgin olive oil because you are cooking these tomatoes at a low temperature.  Cook at 140ºC for about an hour until the tomatoes have collapsed and have begun to caramelise.

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To make it more sauce like but not like a puree smash the tomatoes with a potato masher.

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The two final ingredients are olives and sweet basil.

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I tend to add the olives into the mix to heat through in the sauce while the pasta is cooking and only add the basil when served.

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A delicious and warming dinner when added to pasta and topped with a grating of parmesan cheese.

Thanks to the generosity of Gemma who previously owned this property we have been enjoying produce from the garden all summer.

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These red potatoes were heavy croppers and some of them the size of four ordinary potatoes.
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Peas, coriander and the sweetest strawberries were all delights we enjoyed over December and January.

It is a true sign of a generous gardener to plant potatoes, peas courgette and tomatoes knowing you will not reap the harvest, especially when time is at a premium packing up and moving.

My tomatoes had a slow start with a cool beginning to summer and without a watering system in the glasshouse plus a few missing glass panes, I haven’t had the harvest I should have.  But they are still producing and the basil has grown well.   There is nothing quite the smell of basil and the sense of satisfaction to pick a fresh tomato off its vine.

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Not sure what variety the tomatoes are – they are almost a heart shape and taste good.

 

Thank you Gemma.

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Kerry’s gave me a Cat spirit who will protect Gertrude my glasshouse..unfortunately this cat spirit doesn’t scare white butterfly caterpillars that have eaten my kale.

Kerry has just opened ‘Seven’ a cute retro apartment in her cottage garden in MacAndrew Bay, Dunedin, and is listed on Airbnb. A great place to stay if you are ever visiting Dunedin. You too will experience the Red Riding Hood delivery of a basket of produce.

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