Robinswood Hill + a happy tomato…

A steep dog walk up Robinswood Hill and a great view from the top!

Robinswood Hill walk 13.09.14

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Veggie feast toast…!

We had some essential ‘must use this stuff up’ in the fridge and I was determined to not waste it! : )

I used 1 stick of celery, a few large tomatoes, the same proportion of cucumber, a good dollop of red tomato chutney (which I made last year – yum!) – all mixed together and slowly fried in a pan, until everything is slightly soft and the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and it has become slightly thicker.

This is then spread thickly on a piece of toast. Yum.


Tomato & red lentil soup…

A great soup to have on a chilly autumn or winter day, with crusty bread with butter on.

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 large tomatoes / 8 cherry tomatoes

1/2 pint of vegetable stock

2 handfuls of red lentils

Half a medium onion or 4-5 smaller shallots

3-4 garlic cloves

1/2 a leek

A good sprinkling of parsley

Olive oil

Salt, pepper + a pinch (or a bit more) of chilli flakes

Start by softening the garlic and onions with lots of olive oil. Add in chopped leek – fry for 2 minutes. Add in  chopped tomatoes – fry for further 2 minutes. Add tin of tomatoes and lentils – mix and simmer for 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock + salt, pepper and parsley.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes to let the lentils properly cook and for the flavours to come out. Use a stick blender to lightly blend the mixture, depending on the texture you like + maybe add a bit more water depending on how thick you like it (I added a touch more). Serve with crusty bread – enjoy! : )


Tomato blur with scar…

Some of the very scarce tomatoes from the garden this year, complete with top to tail water-split scar! It’s a tough world out there : )


Related to food…

There have been a few things over the last few days which i’ve noticed relating to food or cooking.

1. Sainsbury’s Basics tuna – pole and line caught only, which means less impact on wildlife which isn’t the intended target.

2. A salad, avocado, tomato salad, with lemon juice – lovely!

3. A recipe from the Guardian Food magazine which i’m going to try out soon.


Tomato & apple chutney…

The San Marsano tomatoes which we grew this year came out quite well, although next year i’m on my continuing mission to find the best variety out there! We got a huge amount in the end and also just wanted to try out all sorts of ways of using them, so here is the latest tomato attempt: tomato and apple chutney…

  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 200 g onions, chopped
  • 100 g raisins or sultanas
  • 250 g cooking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 300 g sugar
  • 225 ml vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

I used brown granulated sugar and white wine vinegar, and didn’t have any cayenne pepper so just used double the normal pepper. I also didn’t peel either the tomatoes or the apples and left the mixture simmering for 2 hours instead of 1 hour as it was looking too runny. I also gave the mixture a few selected goes with the stick blender to reduce the size of some of the larger apple pieces.

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The apples were scrumped from a tree just by the entrance to the huge manure pile by the equestrian centre and the onions were grown by Claire’s Dad, so 95% of the ingredients were free.


* The day after this, I also used up the last of the green tomatoes and made a green tomato and apple chutney.


  • 500g green tomatoes
  • 500g  red onion
  • 250g sultanas (I used raisins)
  • 250g brown sugar (ran out of sugar so used 150g sugar + 2 table spoons of molasses)
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used normal pepper)
  • 1 tsp ground green cardamom
  • 500ml Malt vinegar (I used half white wine and half red wine types)

out (again)

What to do with tomatoes…?

A good recipe for tomato soup from the good people at BBC Good Food.

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One thing to look out for is to make sure the celery is really well cooked before adding the stock, as it is more stringy and tough than the onions etc. I also added a whole red pepper.

We’re in the middle of harvesting the huge san marsano tomatoes from the raised bed. So far we’ve got three large cooking bowls full and the soup used up maybe 2/3 of the first bowl. Just got the third bowl full and there are maybe another two bowls worth still on the vines! One good consequence of planting them a bit late!

5 plants (4 x San Marsano, 1 x Striped Tiger)  have produced 14.5 lbs = 6.5 KG so far. There’s at least another 6 lbs (2.75 KG) left to pick from the vines

I’ve used them for pasta sauce, tomato soup, oven baked tomatoes and tomato salad and so far they’ve produced very good results.

An allotment science experiment which i’ve been keeping in mind has produced very different results. I feel like Gregor Mendel in his pea garden, obviously without the ground-breaking experiments into genetics and reproduction – same approach just different scale of importance!

The tomatoes from the raised beds have given us fruit which is at least twice the size and weight (compared to the ones at the allotment), which started from the same seeds, grown in the same pots for the first 3 weeks. I’ve got a comparison between two varieties, one being the Striped Tiger, the other the San Marsano.

The two on the left are San Marsano and the two on the right are Striped Tiger.

I’ve done the same with potatoes grown in grow bags at my house and straight into the ground at the allotment, and we’ll see what that gives us. So far, the ones in the grow bag only gave as much as we put in (the seed ones being old ones from a Riverford veg box which had already started growing out of the bag).


Tomato-celery toast…

Just made a nice tomato and celery concoction, using the last of the yellow, red and green toms. I also added a stick of celery.

The toms were chopped up and cooked in a pan, with some olive oil, lemon juice, sugar and herbs. Served on some toasted french stick.



This year, a bit like last year, we’ve planted loads of tomato plants – 26 by my count! I found last year that we didn’t get as many as we thought we might, so over-kill is the best policy here! They’re all coming on nicely and we’ve got a few varieties as well.