A few days away (in wonderful Marrakesh – more next week but a hint this week!) and the garden produce seems to have replicated out of all proportion to the rather miserable UK weather that we missed.Lettuce. Tomatoes. To be precise.
3 large lettuces. A load of tomatoes from the plants outside the back door. What to do with them?
Home made tomato sauce
Take as many tomatoes (red, green, orange, yellow – whatever is left on the branches) as you can fit into your pan. A smidgin of olive oil, a nicely chopped onion, tomatoes, and some home made chicken stock. (Using ‘kindly lived, kindly killed’ chickens in the kitchen means that the chickens are not full of water and chemicals; you can get loads of meat off them; and the stock is fantastic). Salt and Pepper. Garlic. And I add some chilli pepper (again – so many chillies still growing on plants so I put them into everything!).
Start off on the hob and then transfer to the oven, adding a little white or red wine (whatever you’ve got) and let it all merrily simmer away. Keep checking that you don’t need to top up (even with a lid on, they can go dry.). Once you like the aroma, the consistency and the colour blend, finish cooking it.
Home made lettuce soup
Take your lettuce. All shapes and sizes again. Add to a pan. With onions, olive oil and yet more ubiquitous chicken stock. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Avoid chilli peppers this time – doesn’t go quite right with the lettuce for some reason. Add some garlic. Let it all simmer. Keep topping up with water. Once happy with the amount of liquor/juice/liquid and the ‘gloopiness’ of the lettuce, whizz it with a blender. Then, it is ready.
So far, this entry has been very ‘English’ (although some of the tomatoes I am sure hail from Spain!). Grown Your Own and lettuce really is quite UKish.
But, as I type this, I am sipping moroccan tea from my new teaset. I have a slight obsession with teapots and I took the opportunity, whilst in Marrakesh, to treat myself to tea pot, sugar bowl and pretty little glasses. The moroccan tea was wonderful – all leaves. Mint, green tea. And a blob of brown sugar cube in the bottom of the glass. It was wonderful. Even with UK green and mint tea leaves, I am transported back.
And as the dark gloom of the apparently forthcoming storm looms, I am reminded of the beautiful lighting to be found at the Riad Zam Zam – atmospheric. Completely beautiful.
For more on Riad Zam Zam, and Marrakech – the sights, sounds, scents, tastes – tune in next week!