30 August 2009

The tomato blight is under control !

Sweet peppers and tomatoesWe've been lucky - either the hot weather or the Bordeaux mix has stopped the blight from taking hold and we're getting good crops of tomatoes from the plot. The capsicums and aubergines are doing well too and I've lifted my onions. So as well as eating lovely fresh salads and tasty Provençal dishes, every week we've enough veg to store in sterilised jars for the winter.

Ratatouille is often my choice because it's quick and easy. The smell and taste of it bottled is almost as good as freshly made and it's good for couscous, adding to a stew or to eat just on it's own. I simply stir fry all the ingredients in batches then put them together in a huge pan and reduce the water content by simmering then put them into Kilner or Le Parfait jars and sterilise them for 30 minutes.

Rocket stove for cooking and water heatingAt this time of the year we clear out the freezer. The ice melts quickly and the freezer dries properly ready to be filled again with our own meat and winter game. I use up all last year's meat to mix with the summer veg to make stews and curries and this week I've made a few batches of bolognaise sauce.

Reducing tomatoes and the long slow cooking needed to make a really good bolognaise sauce takes a lot of time and a lot of gas so we rigged up a cooking plate on the rocket stove with a simple chimney leading the flames towards our back boiler in the fireplace so while we're cooking we also get hot water.

We normally use tree branches as fuel but at the moment, we've thousands of light, clean, dry corn cobs lying outside. (We grow a couple of hectares a year for animal feed.).

A dozen pots of Bolognaise sauce sterilised ready for the cellarWe've been using them in the rocket stove with really good results. With one bucket of cobs we slowly reduced 7 kilos of tomatoes (four hours) and now there's enough water for a bath !

I usually to make a dozen or so jars a week of garden veg in August and September because there's not an awful lot to do outside and it's hot here in August !. So we can have "ready meals" two or three times a week throughout the year without having to buy veg or spend too much time cooking - which suits me just fine !

6 comments:

Ian and Luis said...

It can be hard work processing all the goodies but well worth it in leaner seasons.

Diane said...

Great news and I can smell your ratatouille clear across the sea...now I am hungry!
Enjoy

Mouse said...

Now that's what I call a ready-meal. Parfait!

MrsL said...

I love the colours and smells of late summer; busy time of year, but pelasurable busy-ness :)

MrsL
xx

Frances said...

I have fallen in love with the different varieties of tomatoes you can buy at the markets here in France and hope that my small home-grown offerings will increase next year! Your tomatoes look beautiful. And I am loving your rocket stove - cooking and hot water - wow - I would love to have one of these! Thanks for stopping by my blog, very glad to have discovered yours and look forward to reading more!

GetSoiled said...

Hi there!

It is 5:20 in the morning here and I was looking at your blog while coffee brews...and now I am HUNGRY and jealous!!! :-)

That is no way to start my morning! How do I explain to hubby that I'd like coffee and tomato sauce for breakfast now???

Seriously now, love your blog and I am so glad I found it for I now will be living vicariously through your animals, your off the grid adventures and your deliciously scrumptious meals! Yum!

(I particularly love, LOVE, that there is not an iron nor a vacuum cleaner in your world!)

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