tomatoes, a tart and just a smidge of pride

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

The quietening effect of looking at the tomatoes on the bench even surprised me a little. Eyes slowly scanning over their little green surfaces, searching for that hint of red that would soon burst through. Their tiny foliage hats slowly shrivelling as their connection with the plant in which had shoved them into their small tomatoey glory was now gone.

Unceremoniously yanked out, their yellowing leaves and and wilted limbs telling me it was time. The caterpillars had also moved in, my vigilant watching had wavered and they had seized their opportunity. A greedy multilegged stampede towards the prize line- launching themselves on to the not yet ready fruit. With green tomato stuffed through out their squishy bodies. They would seemingly wave to me in indignation and a last hungry effort as I plucked and squished them off in annoyance.

It was me or them, and I had no intention of it being me. This was my biggest crop this year. No easy feat growing from those small pots in the midst of the concrete city courtyard. No easy feat.

tomato tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

So it was with a smidge of growers pride I made this tart. A simple one, with onions, mozzarella, fetta and those sweet little tomatoes.

Home grown little tomatoes…I salute you.

tomato and fetta tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Tomato, onion and Fetta Tart


200gms cold butter

2 cups plain flour (300gms)

110gms natural yogurt

In a food processor pulse flour and butter until resembles bread crumbs. Tip out into a bowl and add yogurt. Mix through, a quick knead until a smooth consistency and then roll out pastry on a lightly floured board. Roll to the thickness you want (I find this amount is enough for two large sized tarts, and adding it to a greased tart tray.

as many cherry tomatoes as you have

half a finely chopped spanish onion

about 100g of mozzarella

one small block of crumbled fetta

one sprig of rosemary

Lay all ingredients in a layered fashion until it reaches the top of the pastry sides of the uncooked pastry shell and bake until it smells delicious at 190C.

ripening tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

travels and tomato chutney

Maybe wait until I get home and we can book it together.

His words trailed behind him as he ran out the door. I stopped, frowned, and wondered why he wouldn’t have wanted me to go ahead and book the flights.  Hmm, I’m a big girl. Surely I could do this?

It didn’t take long for me to stop frowning.

Maybe it was because the last flights I had booked for his parents, had needed a little tweaking of their itinerary. It had been the parents-in-law once every 5 years break and they had asked me to sort out a weeks holiday for them. Sure. No problem, I’d love to. Three days in and I had it well and truly covered. Itinerary researched, places of interest taken down, accommodation scrutinized and everything just needing to be booked. I started with the flights, the logical first choice. With mother- in- law’s trusty credit card in hand, I paid. Confirmation email confirmed everything, along with the fact that I had just made a huge mistake. I had just flown them into the wrong city.

Excellent. Well there’s a good start. I swore, bit my nails, ranted to a friend, and then made a crazed phone call to Mr Chocolate to tell him what I had done. He laughed and said he couldn’t talk at the moment (he was at work).

So, I had two choices. One to try to change all the flights, or two change their holiday… rather a lot. I chose two, (and just between you and me, I think I actually gave them a better itinerary the second time around.) When we met up and I gave them their holiday details. I did toy with the idea of telling them some extraordinary story of how it was all booked out due to an alien space craft having just crashed into the area and all the local spok watchers were coming in from near and far to try and take a look at the big shiny aircraft. I wasn’t sure they would buy that one, so I… a little nervously, told them the truth. I had oops-ed the flight details, BUT had a lovely replacement holiday all booked for them now. They laughed, and said it didn’t matter. I laughed too, while carefully scrutinising their faces to see if it really DID matter… (I don’t think it really did.)

So it could have been for that reason that Mr Chocolate had asked for me to wait for him to book the flights…. OR it could have been referring to the time I booked some accommodation into the wrong town for ourselves and my mum coming back from a holiday. An innocent mistake that I had luckily picked up on just a few hours before we were supposed to arrive. How we all laughed and made funny jokes at my little mistake, (right after I had sworn, bit my nails and ranted to anyone that would stand still.) Thanks to a well organised international booking system, this little problem too was again righted.

As neither (minor) incidents had happened a long time ago, Mr Chocolate was clearly thinking of one or both of them and obviously thought the booking process should be monitored by someone other than myself.

Fair call I say. So I waited.

Flicking through my CWA Preserves book I did think vaguely about waiting until I had all the ingredients to one of these recipes. However, seeing as though there wasn’t a lot riding on the chutney. No flights needed to be caught, no accommodation needed to be checked in to and the chutney wouldn’t be going anywhere except the table. I didn’t. I had a bag of tomatoes waiting to be used and I had chutney on my mind. I just couldn’t decide what flavours to play with. Which recipe would I like? Actually none of them were grabbing me. They all sounded good, but they weren’t quite the flavours I had in mind. They weren’t my flavours. So with a close of the book, a little pause and a think, I got cracking.

Tomato Chutney

5 cloves garlic

2 onions quartered

2 apples quartered

1 inch peeled fresh ginger

all in the blender and give a quick wizz. Then all into a pot, also adding

3 tps cumin

3 tps coriander

and cook off for a few minutes. Back to the blender add

1 kilo of firm ripe tomatoes

pop that in the pot as well, and bring to a simmer, then add

2 1/2 cups brown sugar (loose, not firmly packed)

2 cups white vinegar

zest of 1 lime*

Cook at a simmer for about 35 minutes or until darker in colour and thicker. Then bottle.

* Don’t forget that lime. It was definitely the clincher.