How is it March already? Seriously. I demand answers. It feels like I’ve only just started to get into the swing of summer and all that it brings; from warm nights in the garden, to the vibrancy of Adelaide at this time of year, to the mountain of tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber I’ve been pulling in each and every day.
As I look around my garden I notice how tired everything is starting to look. Powdery mildew is settling on the large zucchini leaves, and there are now more brown tomato leaves than there are green. The cucumber is still pushing out some morsels, but the pace has definitely slowed. I’m totally ok with it all I suppose because I am at the point of needing to eat something other than tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini, but it is still distressing to note how quickly time passes us by.
It has been a terrific season for tomatoes this year. Not just for me, but for pretty much everyone I know. The last couple of years have been nothing short of frustrating, but this year I would very roughly estimate that we’ve pulled in over ten kilos of tomatoes, including some really tasty monsters that grew bigger than my hand. We’ve done all that we can to make the most of them, we’ve made passata, a spicy tomato sauce and many, many jars of tomato chutney.
I’ve also invested in a dehydrator and have dried and stored a couple of kilos for use later in the year. In a pinch, and when I haven’t had the time to do much else, I’ve roughly chopped and bagged bowls full of cherry tomatoes, plunging them into the depths of my freezer for use in stews and pasta in the cooler months.
It feels really good to be so productive, but it’s also tiring. I think I’ve spent more than my fair share of weekends preserving, making jam, pickles and chutney, which probably explains why I’m so tired and why every spare shelf in my kitchen currently has a jar of some description sitting on it.
As I look out over my little plot, I’m immediately racked with guilt about all the work I need to do to get things going again for winter, so this is me taking a nice deep breath and reminding myself that there is always time.
It’s a long weekend this weekend so I’m planning to at least get some seeds in and clear some of the unhappy looking plants to allow the fighters and late-bloomers to do their thing. I just know I will miss the fresh tomatoes when they are gone, so I’m doing my best to not be too hasty.
In the meantime, I’ve been baking. I arrived home from work the other day to find a bowl full of bananas browning much faster than I would have liked (are you sensing a theme here?). I peeled a couple and chucked them in the freezer for use in smoothies later in the week, made some banana cake and then decided to mess with my usual cookie dough recipe by replacing an egg with mashed up banana.
The results were fabulous, so much so that I just had to share the recipe with you. I have a pretty big sweet tooth, but a whole batch of cookies would be wasted at our place so I made the dough, then wrapped it in baking paper and cling film and popped it in the freezer (I think I might need a bigger freezer!). We’ve been slicing off a chunk here or there and baking for a few minutes when the mood strikes.
How is your garden going? Have you also had a bumper tomato crop this year?
- 125g butter at room temperature
- ⅔ cup raw sugar
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 1 large free-range egg
- 1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- A pinch of cinnamon
- ⅔ cups dark chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks
- ⅓ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- Heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Line a cookie sheet with baking paper or silpat.
- Beat butter with a stand mixer until fluffy.
- Add the sugar and beat again on high until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the egg and banana and whisk to a uniform consistency.
- Add half of the mixture to the sugar, mix well and then add the remainder of the mix.
- Sift in the flour and cinnamon and mix well.
- Add chocolate and walnuts and mix through with a spatula.
- If baking now: Grab spoonfuls of mixture and shape into cookies. Place on lined tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
- If freezing for later: Pour out mixture onto a large sheet of baking paper and shape into a log. Wrap well in cling film and store in the freezer. To bake, take a sharp knife and cut off slices, place on lined tray and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.