So here we are, the first week of September and it feels like the summer just happened without anyone telling me, like I had no part in it whatsoever. The only trips to the beach were to walk the dog and not one picnic was had. A crying shame, I know. The reality is I spent my summer as I spent last summer, in an incredibly hot kitchen. So lesson learned.
Next year, you and I have plans (that don’t involve a hot kitchen).
What hasn’t passed me by without notice is the summer produce. How spoilt we are for these few short months. First the courgette flowers, just begging to be stuffed and battered then we wait for the next arrival, like beans in all their stringy green glory. Broad bean pods bursting at the seams to reveal furry soft insides protecting the precious cargo inside. I have often thought if I were to be a vegetable then a broad bean would be the rolls royce of veg. Turning up once a year enveloped in fur.
We wait then all year for the first tomatoes of the summer. You see in this strange climate we have, temperate as it may be, for most of the year it is absolutely necessary to add sugar to our tomatoes before we eat them to trick our tastebuds into thinking they had somehow, somewhere seen a ray of sunshine while they were growing. Most years they never do. But this year, oh yes, we had the sun..at times nearly 28 degrees of it. Almost unheard of. And so, sweet delicious ruby red tomatoes abound. Hurray! now put away that sugar.
But as sure as the sun rises and sets, summer ends. The evenings are getting shorter and even on the hottish days there is a nip in the air. Autumn approaches. This suits me fine. I am a dark rainy day lover and nothing makes me happier than a fire lighting and wooly jumper being required. It’s in my bones. You see every time I say this my mother justifies it as being because I was born in the middle of the worst snow this country has ever seen. I told you, it’s in my bones.
None of this means though that I won’t miss summer and in particular not having to sugar my tomatoes!
With this in mind and a drawer in the fridge holding a glut of summery sweet tomatoes that are just starting to wrinkle I had to do something to hold on to that last bit of sunshine.
So I slow roasted those babies. I bathed them in marjoram, garlic and olive oil, seasoned and in they went on a very low heat to shrivel up and preserve that goodness for moments when the leaves are falling fast outside and a little glimmer of sunshine is needed say, in a bowl of otherwise autumnal pasta.