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using this season’s must have ingredient#2

November 17, 2012

The green tomatoes the beloved harvested last week have changed colour slightly and now most of them have at least a pinkish blush and some are definitely red. They’re all looking a little tired though; tomatoes aren’t particularly known for their keeping qualities, so I thought I’d cook them. Although they look as if they’d be nice and juicy, they are a bit on the floury side. Think pasta sauce rather than tomato and mozarella salad.

Then there’s the chilli harvest. The bowl on the kitchen table has a selection of Dorset nagas, apaches and jalapenos in differing stages of red, green and orange. The chilli collection is slowly being depleted, but you have to work at it. We’ve had chilli in something or other almost every day for a fortnight  or so now. Fortunately there are still some green tomatoes for another batch of chilli chutney – and I haven’t made the chilli vodka I was planning to do yet…

But the tomatoes were the most in need of attention today. Sometimes I think  it’s good to cook foods of the same colour together – makes everything seem more vibrant and if you really are what you eat… When I was a student we had parties occasionally when we all had to bring food of a certain colour – I think the idea was not to use food colouring, but we were all art and drama students… I remember the purple feast .

Today I thought I’d use red things. In addition to my tomatoes and chillies, the fridge yielded red onions, pink garlic, red peppers, cooked prawns – and  half a red cabbage, which I decided against using. There was also the soon to be indispensable ingredient – quince toffee. A spicy prawn curry was calling me to cook it.

Finely chop two red onions, two cloves of garlic and a red jalapeno pepper and fry in a little olive oil until the onions are soft, in a pan with a lid on – stir every now and then. Add a heaped teaspoon of  ground cumin, a teaspoon of mustard seeds, half a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of allspice and stir well. Chop a red pepper and half a dozen red tomatoes roughly and then add these to the pan. Stir and cook until the tomatoes are soft. Add a teaspoon of English mustard, a piece of quince toffee (OK use jam instead if you failed to make any quince toffee this year) and a teaspoon of salt. If it’s dry add some water. When it’s looking cooked, add 4oz (or thereabouts) of cooked prawns and heat through gently. Serve with watercress (or something green for contrast) and chapatis or naan bread.

This post is for Nicole – not because she loves chillies (she doesn’t) or even because she was at a purple food party years ago (she wasn’t) but because I’ve just remembered it was her birthday last Wednesday and I forgot it . Sorry. Happy belated birthday!


One Comment leave one →
  1. jessica meredith permalink
    November 19, 2012 10:12 pm

    purple and feast….wrong ,wrong wrong.

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