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Autumn on the allotment


by Lila Das Gupta

I usually enjoy those first couple of weeks in September after my holidays, when things are starting to get autumnal. Then all of a sudden, without rhyme or reason, I feel I've had enough...


Harvested tomatoesWhere does the old season end and the new one begin? For allotmenteers it can feel like something of a continuum - these days you can buy excellent plug plants of winter lettuce and oriental greens that will take you right through winter, if you haven't got round to planting more traditional vegetables like sprouts and parsnips.

I usually enjoy those first couple of weeks in September after my holidays, when the dahlias are still in full swing and things are starting to get autumnal. Then all of a sudden, without rhyme or reason, I feel I've had enough. Out come the bean poles, then goodbye sunflowers and good riddance courgettes.

Then there's the question of what to do with the glut of tomatoes. This year I decided to invest in a passata machine having enviously seen a friend's one in action. Once you've tasted home-made passata, you will never go back to the shop-bought variety again - the vibrant taste is incomparable. I also like freezing batches of tomato soup which can be pulled out at unexpected moments to share with friends. 

Our current favourite is tomato and rosemary soup. Just place a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on medium heat, throw in about a kilo of tomatoes cut in half, add half a pint of chicken stock (or vegetable bouillon), three stems of rosemary, three large crushed garlic cloves and a pinch of chilli powder (the chilli should be a faint taste). Keep on a medium heat for around 45 minutes then use a hand blender to liquidise about half of the soup. Pass the lot through a sieve, add salt to taste, then serve with crusty sour dough bread.



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Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2009 at 19:40

Yum, your recipe makes me feel hungry and I have been eating a half a pound of tomatoes a day for the last three weeks!

Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2009 at 19:57

Lovely blog. Lovely blogger. Delicious soup. Well done, Lila!

Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2009 at 20:00

Congratulations on the new blog Lila! How exciting! I can relate to that feeling of "having enough". It's one of those things that comes naturally when in the garden. As seasons change you realise certain things have to go and the clear out begins, only to be replaced with the new. I don't think I've ever seen a passata machine? I think I will have to investigate it now. Ryan (Ryan's Garden)

Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2009 at 20:01

Must try that recipe! Excellent blog btw! just made our own 'tinned tomato' type recipe,using cider vinegar,water and sugar. Taste lovely but boiling vinegar does stink out the kitchen! Off to google Passata machines!

Gardeners' World Web User 18/09/2009 at 21:32

mkes me happy oits autumn...now where would one find a passata machine

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