Last night I walked outside at about 8pm and was completely spellbound by the most beautiful full moon. I don't know if any of you saw it but it was amazing. Listening to the radio this morning I learnt that it was The Harvest Moon, which traditionally marks the time when farmers begin to gather their crops for the winter, using the extra bright light to extend their working day. An interesting fact for the day, and it was pretty special to see too!
On the theme of gathering crops, there is nothing better than "home grown" fruit and veg - sadly we don't grow any vegetables at home, but I always pick what I can from the hedgerows, and this morning I got a mass of windfall apples from under a tree in the park! I am often lucky enough to be given excess spoils from friends who have a glut, but I equally love farmers markets or farm shops which is where I went to get the tomatoes for this recipe this morning. It gives me great pleasure to think they will still have been growing on a plant last night.
This simple, comfort food recipe was given to me by my great friend Sarah, to whom I am really grateful.
Baked Tomato Gratin
4 cloves garlic, large red onion, 8tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 250g white sourdough or ciabatta torn in to chunks, 1.5kg large ripe tomatoes, 1 glass red wine, grated parmesan and basil or parsley for the top
Chop the garlic and onion and place in a large oven proof dish with 6 tbsp olive oil - season with salt, and bake in a hot oven (200C) for 10 mins. At the same time put the torn bread on a baking tray and place on a lower shelf in the oven for about 5 mins to slightly dry out. Cut the tomatoes into chunks, removing the core. Remove the onion and garlic dish from the oven and add the tomatoes, wine, bread and black pepper and stir everything together. Return to the oven and bake for half and hour. Drizzle with the remainder of the olive oil and garnish with basil or parsley, and grated parmesan. Return to the oven for 10 mins so the top becomes crisp (which I forgot to do before taking this photo and eating it but it still tasted great!)
Something else given to me by my great friend Sarah is the recipe for this delicious Chorizo Jam which is the newest addition to the Fino line up. Some of you have already had a taste from a sample that I had at my first few fairs, but the first batch arrived with me yesterday afternoon - I will obviously have it with me at all the fairs but it is also available on the website. It is great on baked potato or with pasta, fab as an accompaniment for meat or white fish, and like the Fino Chilli Jam it is great with cheese.
As from next week my fairs really take off so hopefully I will spy some of you on my rounds. There is a full list of where I'm going to be on the website - https://finooliveoil.co.uk/pages/fairs - or alternatively you can order anything Fino online - https://finooliveoil.co.uk/collections/all-products
I really hope to see you or hear from you soon