Tomatoes, more tomatoes and chutney making

You know that winter is coming in New Zealand when the price of tomatoes goes up.  According to Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand households spent more than NZ$100 million on fresh tomatoes, or about 20,000 tonnes, in the year to June 2010, and people actually buy them all year round.  Since moving here, I had thought of growing my own on our terrace, but to be honest I have just not got around to it.  I have successfully grown small tomatoes indoors in the past, though they attracted fruit flies and I had to get rid of my plants.

IMG_4633Red cherry tomatoes

Tomatoes come in such a variety of sizes, from little cherry tomatoes to giant beef steak, different shapes and colours from bright yellow to orange to red to almost black. There are apparently 7500 varieties in total! They are good with so many things, from baby spinach and feta, to mozzarella and basil and on toast for breakfast, or made into a sauce for pasta….the list goes on.  No wonder they are such a popular ingredient.

IMG_4743More tomatoes

A few weeks ago when tomatoes were still a good price, I decided to make some tomato chutney.  I went for this one from Eat Live Escape as it was so simple to make.

All you need is 1 red onion, finely chopped; 500g cherry tomatoes, halved 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped; 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a dash of olive oil.

Fry the onion in the olive oil until it is soft but not brown.  Add the tomatoes and chilli and cook until the tomatoes break down.  Add the red wine vinegar and maple syrup and cook for about 15 minutes or until the chutney has thickened.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  This keeps for about 5-7 days in the fridge, but I spooned the hot chutney into sterilised jars, covered them with a tea towel, and then put away in a cool place to preserve the chutney.

Verdict: a mild chutney that works beautifully with cheese rather than strong foods like sausages.  It is perfect for lunch time sandwiches.

IMG_4500A little pot of chutney


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