I’m a reluctant cook. Having churned out meal after meal for my family for the past fourteen or so years, I can honestly tell you I get more pleasure from weeding a muddy vegetable plot in the rain than trying to think up and prepare yet another dinner. Mr G would be the adventurous cook in the kitchen here and I’m usually quite happy to leave him to it. (Particularly as he’s prone to making comments like “that tastes nice, where did you buy it…!?”)
That said I do enjoy preparing meals for friends and getting stuck into a bit of baking now and again (see yesterday’s post for some links and recipes to non vegetable/fruit containing bun recipes). It’s really just the day-to-day cooking that does nothing for me.
What does come with regular cooking however, is confidence. For several years I was an out and out recipe book girl, never veering away from the ingredients but as the years have past and the discovery of what works and doesn’t begins to sink in, I’ve become more adventurous.
Today was a case in point when I was looking for recipes for the basket of green tomatoes that’s been sitting here on the countertop for days. I came across two possibilities – one for bread and one for cake – both from US web sites. Every version I found was measured in cup sizes and to my mind much heavier on the butter and sugar than we would be used to here (two cups of sugar seems an awful lot, even for my sweet too). I therefore adapted a courgette cake recipe and added ingredients from the green tomato cake recipe found earlier. Voilà, it worked. We now have 24 buns containing an ingredient I wouldn’t have thought to add to cake in a month of Sundays.
The result tastes a bit like carrot cake – moist with a hint of spice. You’d only really know there were green tomatoes in the buns if you came across a piece that hadn’t been chopped up small enough and (I think) had been told they was in there. Certainly both our girls enjoyed eating the buns and hadn’t a clue!
If you have a large quantity of green tomatoes left at the end of the growing season and have made as much chutney as you can manage, I’d recommend whizzing what’s left in a food processor, bagging the mixture into portion sizes ready to make lots more cakes throughout the winter months. Why waste and compost a perfectly good food ingredient. You could argue they’re healthy cakes too as green tomatoes contain almost as much vitamin C as red ones!
Ingredients for Green Tomato & Lemon Curd Buns
Makes 24 buns
250g diced and strained green tomatoes
2 large eggs
125ml rapeseed oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
half teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Whiz the whole green tomatoes in a food processor until diced without being liquidised. Place in a sieve and rest over a bowl to drain the moisture, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out the excess. Meanwhile add the oil, eggs and sugar to a bowl and mix until creamy. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder with the creamy mixture and stir with a wooden spoon then add the drained green tomatoes, spices and sultanas until evenly mixed.
Spoon into bun cases and bake for 20- 25 mins until cooked. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the topping.
Lemon curd topping
75g butter, preferably unsalted
3 large free range eggs
75g caster sugar
125ml lemon juice (or approx 2 lemons juiced)
zest of 1 lemon
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add all the other ingredients and whisk to a custard over a gentle heat. Let cool before topping the buns with it. Keep any extra in the fridge as it’s lovely on toast too.
I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe or if you adapt it to your own taste. The verdict here was a big all round hit. Two teenage lads were the initial guinea pigs and loved the buns, followed by our girls who didn’t know there were tomatoes in them and were mightily surprised when they were told afterwards!