In fact the last time we produced this many tomatoes was when Blue was in his first year of chemo in 2006. He craved cherry tomatoes during the courses of steroids he had to take, and consumed kilos of them - quite literally. The Husband proudly grew tomatoes, they ripened, and guess what. The craving stopped. I think Blue moved on to raw mushrooms and Shreddies at that point. We've grown tomatoes ever since, but never with the same success, and green tomato chutney has been a big feature of our lives. This year, though, it will be different. The tomatoes have ripened, and they have been delicious.
Today, some particularly fine specimens - beef tomatoes - were on the menu, along with some baby courgettes ('pick 'em while they're small', is my current strategy for dealing with them). I hadn't really thought about what I was going to stuff them with, but I found some pork mince in the freezer, and some giant couscous in the cupboard.
While this was all cooking, I seived out as much juice as I could and added it into the pan, bringing it to a simmer to cook the couscous. After about 15 minutes, I filled the tomatoes with this mixture, arranged the leftover mixture around the tomatoes, then covered the dish with silver foil and baked it for 25 minutes. It could have done with being spicier, but it was pretty good and the Husband and Blue (and I) all enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I started this all too late, so Pink had to make do with pasta before she went to Brownies.
You'll be please to know, though, that Pink didn't miss out on pudding. What could have been so delicious? Well, I'll tell you - Rachel Allen's Butterscotch Apple Pudding, for which I will be eternally grateful to the lovely Annie who writes Scrummy Suppers and Quirky Cakes. As I mentioned before, as well as tomatoes, we also have an abundance of cooking apples at the moment, and this was quick to knock up and totally delicious. If I had one criticism, it would be that it could possibly have done with a little more of the butterscotch sauce - easily rectified by making more next time...
Butterscotch Apple Pudding
100 g butter
125 g self-raising flour
200 g light brown muscovado sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 ml milk
3 cooking apples, (about 500g total weight)
1 tbsp golden syrup & 1 tbsp of runny honey
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl with 100g of the sugar.
In a jug, mix together the milk, egg and vanilla extract with the melted butter.
Peel, quarter and core the apples, then slice each quarter again lengthwise and then into half. You basically want large but still bitesize chunks. Sprinkle these over the bottom of an oven proof dish - Rachel's was 20 by 30 cm. Mine was probably 22cm square-ish
Tip the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk quickly together - as you would for muffins. Tip over the apple pieces. and spread evenly over the dish.
Make the butterscotch - in a small pan, put the syrup & honey with the remaining 100g of sugar and 150ml of boiling water. Heat, stirring, while the sugar dissolves, then pour as evenly as you can over the batter and apples.
Pop in the oven for around 30 minutes. If you can resist, leave it cool a little before serving warm. It would probably be delicious with ice cream, cream or creme fraiche, but frankly it didn't need it.