Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 16:47

Sliced on hot buttered toast with lots of salt and pepper isn't bad either, Fairygirl.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 16:46

I've found that beetroot need mid- to high-teens C to develop properly.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 16:41

Heather, ripening is all down to temperature. Nothing to do with direct sunlight. Optimum temps for ripening are anything above low-20sC. They will ripen at lower temps but correspondingly slower. Once daytime temps get down to the low teens consistently you're better off taking them inside to ripen.

Skin thickness and taste are usually down to the variety as Welshonion said above. Though, as I've reported here before, a tomato can thicken its skin in the absence of adequate moisture. It's more likely to happen in very hot weather. It's the tom's way of preserving moisture.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 14:03

You need to be careful making pasta sauces with other than plum varieties like, eg, San Marzano. The plums are almost designed for sauce - lots of flesh, not a lot of juice, not many seeds. Other varieties, full of juice and seeds, cooked down, can produce a lake of liquid and seeds.

The beauty of the raw tomato sauce - posted above - is that it doesn't cook down the toms to let them shed their juice and seeds.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 12:42

But of course!


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 10:45

No idea whether it appears in the book but I made a cold, fresh tomato pasta sauce t'other night to use a stack of ripe toms. It's essentially the doings for a bruschetta but turned into a pasta sauce.

Roughly chop your toms into bite-sized bits, taking out any core or tough bits. Add at least a quarter of a cup of EVOO. The amount of toms and oil depends on how many you're feeding. I used a quarter of a cup for two people.

Tear up a bunch of basil, add it to the bowl with a clove of finely chopped garlic and plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper. Give it a good stir and leave it for at least an hour for the flavours to combine. Don't put it in the fridge!

Cook your pasta. Tip the sauce into a dish large enough to hold all the pasta and sauce. Tip the pasta into the dish and stir very well to coat the pasta and distribute the tomato pieces. Leave it for a minute or two - stirring again a couple of times - for the heat of the pasta to warm the sauce slightly before serving.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 21/08/2013 at 10:28

Pictures speak a thousand words. Here's a developed female flower on the end of an ovary.

It will probably open the next morning.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 21/08/2013 at 10:24

Ging, the male flower is just a flower on a stalk. The female flower is on the end of what looks like a miniature version of the fruit. It's actually an ovary that will become a fruit if pollinated.

Male flowers always outnumber females. The female flower opens in the mornings - usually early - and will often close later in the day.

If you want to try your hand at pollinating, you need to get up early. Remove a male flower, trim away the "petals" to expose the stamen covered with pollen. At the centre of an open female flower is the stigma. Rub the pollen-covered stamen gently against the stigma to transfer the pollen. Don't be too vigorous. Damage the stigma and and all is lost.

You usually get a day or so's notice of the female flower opening. First, you see the ovary forming, then the flower forming on the end of it. When the flower is formed but still closed, you can expect it to open within a day or so. At that point, it's worthwhile checking every morning.


Posted: 21/08/2013 at 09:14

I'd have a crack at getting the roots out, too. If they're definitely dead, it should make removing them a little easier. And, if they're definitely dead, you can probably leave the deep ones - more than a spade and a half deep - in situ. I've got old dead roots under most of my beds.


Posted: 21/08/2013 at 06:59

These things happen, Mandy. Cherries should usually be the first to mature.

Dove - from the other thread, I look forward to hearing what you think of Soldacki. And Anna Russian needs a good slap occasionally to make it behave and stop taking over the garden.

I've got so many ripe toms that I made a raw tomato sauce for pasta with a couple of them last night. Delicious.

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