Fresh - August Edition

Winter Fruits

Yes, it's the time of year - if you live in the northern hemisphere that is - tomato lovers long for, when tomatoes finally reach their gloriest sun-ripened juiciest sweetest best; when farmers' markets abound with trays and pottles of heirloom tomatoes in shades of green, red, yellow, orange and purple, twinkling like jewels. Who can resist them?

This time last year I ambled through the best farmers' markets LA has to offer with my friends Marg and Paul, and ate divine tomatoes with the sweetest juice, and others, striped with green, which finished with a nice little acidic bite. These stripy ones are my current favorite although when it comes to tomatoes I'm not very loyal. But there was no stopping us in LA - round the markets we went, comparing color, size, stripes, variations, mutations, juice, seeds and flavor. We ate tomatoes at home and plates of tomato salad when we went out. Divine! The memory of great tomatoes eaten in the US has spurred me on to write this newsletter. Of course I'm jealous. The season will be finished by the time I get there this year you lot will have eaten them all!

If you love them too, don't hold back because now is the time to make the most of them... when you can make a meal of nothing more than a gorgeous ripe tomato, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt and dash of pepper...I love them so much I once wrote a book called
Take A Vine-ripened Tomato.

Many of my late summer lunches consist of nothing more than a tomato, a piece of bread and oil, eaten without ceremony at the kitchen counter as I look out on the tranquility of my garden. It satisfies all my cravings. At least for 24 hours. We grow heaps of them, and several different varieties, in the garden, in pots and planter boxes, and end up with tomatoes for 5-6 months of the year.

For a summer lunch then, I pluck a tomato fresh from the vine, still warm from the sun, if Im lucky. Slice it into rounds with a serrated knife. Make it glisten with a film of exquisite olive oil and sparkle with flakes of sea salt. Grind over a little nose-tingling pepper and load it onto a chunk of crusty sour dough bread. And I stand at the kitchen counter, leaning over the sink to eat, unperturbed by dribbles of juice down my chin or large crusty crumbs which fall around me. I dont quite know how you would get on with this scenario if you work in an office...but this is me at home, unobserved I hope!

Tips and tricks
There are a zillion things you can do with tomatoes, but just a few rules about storing, preparing and serving them.

Avocado & Tomato Salad

Oven-baked Tomatoes

Colin's Breakfast Tomatoes

Tomato Tarts