Earlier this month I attended a Tomato Masterclass at Huthwaite Farm. Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods (sometimes I eat them like apples) so I pounced on Lizzie from Strayed from the Table the moment she announced the date.
While only 40 minutes from my home, ocean and hinterland are world’s apart. A city girl with a penchant for high-heels and fancy restaurants, I pressed down gently on the brake as bitumen gave way to gravel. Inching my way along the dusty track, I winced as rocks ricocheted off the car’s silver paintwork and kept an eagle eye on the sat-nav as it counted down the distance to my destination. I let out a deep sigh of relief as I eyed the blackboard propped up against a wire gate, directing me to Huthwaite Farm.
A woman wielding a knife and steel, who I assumed to be Lizzie, stuck her head out of the shed and greeted me cheerfully as I bumped clumsily along the driveway. Turns out only Lizzie could look friendly waving a knife around!
The small class was relaxed yet informative with plenty of opportunities to get our hands dirty in the vegetable patch and in the kitchen.
After sharing her encyclopaedic knowledge of tomato varieties; soil preparation, planting and watering; pests and disease, Lizzie guided us through five tomato recipes, proving you don’t need a fancy kitchen to create sensational food.
- Tomato relish
- Green tomato chutney
- Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
I was smitten with the Gazpacho we prepared as a starter; this chilled acidic soup is perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner.
This is my interpretation of Strayed from the Table’s recipe.
Spicy Summer Gazpacho
8-10 tomatoes (I used a combination of Roma, Black Russian and Heirloom Cherry tomatoes)
1 red onion, finely diced
1 continental cucumber, roughly chopped
1 red capsicum (red pepper), roughly chopped
1 cup celery stalks and leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 small red or green chilli, roughly chopped
Generous handful of basil leaves and stems, roughly chopped
80 grams stale Turkish bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup light-bodied red wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cut a small cross at the top of each tomato then place tomatoes in the boiling water until the skins blister. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and immerse in cold water. Peel the skin off and cut each tomato roughly into quarters. Set aside to cool.
Break the Turkish bread (including crusts) into chunks then process in a food processor to create fine breadcrumbs. Add tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, celery, capsicum, garlic, chilli and basil and process for 7-10 minutes until smooth. Gradually add oil, vinegar, wine, salt and pepper and continue to process until well incorporated (do not let the liquid start to foam).
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving in bowls. Garnish with sour cream, basil leaves and a sprinkle of dukkah.
The Judicious Gourmand attended Strayed From the Table’s Tomato Masterclass as a fully-paid participant, and received no remuneration or payment in kind for writing this post.