Cheat ‘Sun-ripened’ tomatoes

Although we have had more than our average sun quota this year, sadly its not lasted long enough to take full advantage for sun-drying our harvests.  So here is a simple recipe to make the most out of your cherry tomato glut and provide a mouth watering taste of summer in the deepest winter months.

Ripe cherry toms

It does take some time to oven dry your produce, so make sure you choose a time when you will be around for 2-3 hours.   Perhaps use this time to look through some lovely organic seed catalogues and daydream about next year’s plans.

You will need:

Cherry tomatoes – de-stalked, washed, dried and any dodgy ones removed

Olive Oil – for brushing

Salt & herbs for seasoning

Method:

  • Turn on oven to a low heat (around 120C / GM 1 or lower).
  • Line a large baking tray with baking paper or parchment and place a wire rack over this.
  • Slice your prepared tomatoes in half and lay out cut side facing up on the wire rack.  For added ease, I highly recommend this fabulous 1-minute tutorial on how to cut multiple tomatoes: https://www.wimp.com/a-simple-technique-for-cutting-cherry-tomatoes-in-half/

 

Tomatoes before

  • Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs of your choice.  Basil or Marjoram are good with tomatoes.
  • Pop in the oven checking on the tomatoes’ progress periodically to make sure they are cooking evenly; they will probably fall through the wire rack, but don’t worry about that.
  • Continue to cook until they are squishy but not juicy (or you can decide for yourself the perfect consistency you want from a sun-dried tom).
  • Either use these in pasta dishes immediately, or you can further preserve them by either freezing or bottling.  I have frozen mine in one-meal quantities for easy use. Try searching on line if you want to preserve them in oil – this will take a bit more effort.

 

Tomatoes after

Save TOAST in your diary: The Organic Apple Sharing Treat

Sunday 2nd September, 11.00am at plot 182, Weald Allotment Site, Hove

We plan to pick apples from Alan’s heritage mini-orchard on the Weald allotment site, giving most of them to Fareshare, taking some home to sample, and juicing many of the ‘not quite perfect apples’ to make our own delicious drink. It will be a real treat.

We will also share Viv’s recipe for apple chutney and show you the ingredients so that you can make delicious chutney in your own kitchen and have it with cheese/ fake cheese on toast.

Bring your own organic apples if you have any to share; a press will be available on the day.

BHOGG members only event or join on the day.

What to do with courgette gluts? Sweet and savory recipes

Ross’s Easy Peasy Courgette Pesto

Courgette glut? Fed up of the sight of them? Use this recipe to hide the offending veg and make a super fast, super tasty, super fresh meal. This recipe makes enough pesto for 6 people.

Ingredients
6 courgettes, ideally around 12 cms long. Don’t use the oversize ones, as they may be too bitter for this recipe.
3 tbs olive oil
1 large clove garlic
handful of fresh basil
1 tbs pine nuts (or use cooked chickpeas as an alternative)
salt & pepper to taste
chilli flakes for dressing

Method

  1. Roughly chop courgettes – there is no need to cook, salt or drain them.
  2. Place all ingredients into bowl and whizz together using a hand blender (or put into a blender) – keep the mixture slightly textured
  3. Test and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Cook up your favourite pasta – I used linguine
  5. Serve the pasta with a little olive oil mixed through; spoon the pesto on top, garnish with basil and sprinkle with chilli flakes and / or cheese.
  6. Add a tomato salad and warm crusty ciabatta to make into a main meal.

 

Courgette & Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes UK

This is a great recipe for using up all those pesky courgettes coming into season now. The ones I used were a drier variety, which meant I needed to add a bit more water to get the right consistency. I also reduced the oil and sugar to make a less sweet muffin.

courgette-choc-chip-muffins.jpg

Ingredients
200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
100ml vegetable oil
80ml soya milk
1 tbs lemon juice
200g grated courgette (excess moisture squeezed out)
100g bar of dairy free chilli chocolate (cut into chunks) or choc chips

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Gas 4. Grease muffin tins/ line with cases
  2. Combine flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & salt together.
  3. In a separate container, mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice & vanilla extract together. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined
  4. Fold in grated courgette & chocolate chips. Consistency should be dropping off spoon, but not runny. Add extra milk or water if mixture is too dry.
  5. Put mixture in muffin cases and place in oven.
  6. Cook for 20-25 minutes; cool; eat

 

Recipes supplied by BHOGG member Jenni.

Walk & Talk led by Geoff Mead: History of Gardening & Food Production in Brighton. 18th July, 7pm

Geoff Mead will reveal to us the history of gardening & food production in Brighton as we take a leisurely stroll from the Palace Pier around the city.

Please wear suitable shoes/ clothing, remembering to bring water, hat, sun cream, waterproofs, etc as the weather dictates for this outdoor event.

Meet at Palace Pier, July 18, 7pm.

Free to BHOGG members; £10/£5 non-members or join on the night.

Ruth’s top tips for July & August: Yielding

  1. Keep on top of weeding and watering.  It’s hot and dry out there so water well once a week.  Water at the base of the plant and try and avoid waterting during the heat of the day.

  2. Harvest beans, peas, courgettes, cucumbers etc. regularly to ensure on-going production

  3. Lift early spuds and use the beds to either plant out leeks and winter brassicas or sow with green manure; lift garlic and autumn planted onions

  4. Sow lettuce, beetroot, chard, oriental greens, rocket, carrots Feed tomatoes and peppers with an organic seaweed tomato feed or diluted comfrey liquid; spray everything with diluted liquid seaweed

  5. Summer prune trained apple and pear trees and cherries and plums in late August.

Our community allotment: The allotment in the community

In addition to the wonderful Sunday sessions at our Weald Plot, we enjoy inviting vulnerable groups and healthy volunteers to our community allotment.

Friday 22 June was a fabulous day when 16 students and teachers came from Hurstpierpoint school and rebuilt some of our beds, moved a large raised bed and reconstructed our large wooden containers that had rotted down with the compost. Thanks especially to Steve and Alan for transporting the wood and clearing the rubbish, and all those who helped on the day Phillipa, Barbara, Pete, Andre and Paul.

A-H

If any groups (especially vulnerable groups) would like to come to our community allotment please send us an email info@bhogg.org.

Solstice Pick & Cook with Caroline

Those long sweet summer days have arrived; we enjoyed one of those on 24 June when we celebrated the summer solstice on the Community Allotment. It was too hot for most people to do any gardening, so chilling out, chatting, drinking Sarah’s cool, homemade, elderflower pressé and the fabulous food prepared by the evergreen Caroline.

 

Caroline was excellent as ever, working hard and chatting sociably with everyone as she cooked delicious food.  It was difficult to find seasonal food on site for cooking in June but Caroline rustled up a feast seemingly out of nothing.

Gorgeous vegetable pakoras and frittatas, garlic bread, salad with nasturtiums and home baked treats were the reward for the hard working gardeners (Jenni and Steve mainly!)on a beautiful summer’s afternoon.

 

Review by Jenni and Alan

Love Lavender: Shortbread recipe

Lavender is renowned for its healing properties and is one of the most popular essential oils in aromatherapy.  French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term ‘aromatherapie’ did so after noticing that lavender oil relieved the pain from a serious burn, and a subsequent accelerated the rate of healing.   Lavender is also often recommended to help with insomnia.

Lavender comes from the same family as rosemary, and can be used in culinary dishes as well.  This is one of my personal favourites – it is easy to make and so tasty.

Ingredients

2-3 T of lavender flowers – freshly cut, chopped
300g Butter
1C icing sugar
3C plain flower (you can swap for gluten-free alternative)

Note: you can use any part of the plant but I like the flowers for the bright flash of purple they add.

Method

Cream butter, sugar and lavender
Mix in flour
Form mixture into a long sausage, wrap in plastic and put the fridge for 20 minutes (this part is really important for good results!).

 

Once the dough has chilled, cut into 1cm thick slices, place on lightly greased baking tray

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes 160 (fan) 180 (regular), the shortbread should have a little colour for maximum flavour.  Put the kettle on!

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SAVE THE DATE: Sunday 24th June. Solstice Pick & Cook with Caroline Whiteman

We are delighted to have Caroline Whiteman from Brighton & Hove Food Partnership come along and cook for us using fresh ingredients from our community allotment.

Come and enjoy some tasty bites made using seasonal produce grown on the plot. Vegan and gluten free options will be available.  Please bring a plate to share as the seasonal cooking will just be a small taster for attendees.

11am at The Weald allotment site.  Find us at plots 238 & 239 at the Weald Allotments, Neville Avenue, Hove, BN3 7NA