Autumn 09

This has been a beautiful Autumn here. I've missed a whole month in the garden, but it carries on finding its own balance in the warm but wetter weather, with lots of seedlings coming up and brassicas plumping up nicely. I harvested masses of black boy peaches which I sold at the gate and dehydrated for the kids lunches over the next few months. Only I turned round one day and saw that skatey boy had found them, and in just three days had munched his way through 3/4 of an Agee jar of them, probably equivalent to about 25 peaches! I have hidden the other 2 jars so we have some winter snacks.

Our beautiful green grape is ready now, people always ask for cuttings of this one, I don't know what it's called but it's sweet and almost seedless and grows perfectly organically. It doesn't get any food or water but I give it a good prune in winter. It's a real asset in the garden because people are happy to barter for it. See below I've had tons of tomatoes from Dad and walnuts from my Aunt, while not pictured my neighbour has also been supplying me with hazelnuts.
A friend put the word around that I hadn't been well, so I've been spoiled this week with home cooked meals and baking. It is so healing to know that people care. All of them with busy lives themselves. Without the chore of cooking dinner I've made soup, sauce and paste from the tomatoes. While in the still room I've been brewing up some cider (a first for me) and drying lemon verbina, and tansy which are also romping away in the garden.
Tomato Paste is easy, here it is:
10 lbs (5kg) ripe tomatoes
1 Tablespoon salt,
white pepper to taste,
olive oil
Chop tomatoes and cook in a large pan for about half an hour or till very soft. Stir as necessary.
Remove from heat and mouli or puree in food processor. Return to pan, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half.
Preheat oven to a very slow 120 degrees Celsius. Transfer puree to a greased baking dish and bake 4-5 hours till very thick and concentrated. Add salt and pepper and spoon into sterilised jars, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and seal.
Keeps for about a year.
If you don't want to bottle it, freeze it in kids ice block moulds, they are a good size to whip out and add to a meal.

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