12 February 2010

Saturday is Our Quiet Day and Today was no Exception

We woke to grey, cloudy skies and heavy drizzle, making it very tempting just get back into bed and curl up with some books. I thought about it and then decided it would be nicer to be up and about, so up I got.

With all the lovely rain of the last two days the vegetable garden has gone wild. The tomatoes are climbing the fence and the little tommy tomato is actually higher than the fence on two limbs! It's been an odd season in the garden, the tomatoes especially have been slow to form and even slower to ripen but I did mange to pick a colander full of the tiny ones this afternoon and now I have them in the oven, slowly roasting. I love semi-dried tomatoes, especially if they are virtually free.

And as it's Spending Freeze month at the Cheapskates Club making a batch of my own rather than buying them makes sense too. Until a few years ago I had no idea that I could do my own semi-dried tomatoes, another marketing campaign that had me believing it took special skills or equipment or ingredients.

This lot were washed and dried, then cut in half. I like to put them on silicone paper in the oven, it just makes the cleaning up easier. Then I sprinkled them with some finely chopped basil and parsley (because that's what is in the garden right now) and drizzled some EVOO over them. Into a pre-heated very slow (90 degrees fan forced) oven for a couple of hours.  They've been cooking for about an hour and look good. Another hour and they'll be done. I have a jar, already to wash and sterilise by the oven method seeing it's on, to put them in. They'll keep in the fridge, covered in EVOO for months but they never last that long.

My homemade semi-dried tomatoes, don't they look good?

I like to put them in salads and on anti pasta plates, for colour but also because they are good, really, really good to eat.

They are so easy to do and small batches as they are ripe make it even easier. If you haven't tried making your own semi-dried tomatoes yet, do. They are so much nicer than the bought ones and you can alter the flavours to suit your taste.

My menu plan went out the window tonight. We decided to have the focaccias I picked up for 50c a packet at Aldi last week, for tea with pasta sauce, sliced tomato and grated cheese. Yum.  And yay for a really inexpensive tea, about $3.50 to feed the five of us.

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