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green tomatoes

Food & Drink

Green Tomato Buns with Lemon Curd Topping

November 11, 2012
Green Tomato Buns

Green Tomato Buns

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!

Green Tomato Bunds with Lemon Curd Topping

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
50g sultanas

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

Makes 350ml:

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!


Food & Drink

Green Tomato & Chilli Chutney Recipe

October 22, 2012

Beech tree in all its glory

Autumn is the most vibrant season of the year with the full spectrum of orange, browns, yellows and reds shining out from the hedgerows and fields.

It’s also the time of year most associated with harvesting and preserving and I can’t help but wish those glorious reds (or even a hint of yellow or orange) had extended into my polytunnel and were now the main colour of my tomatoes! Instead, around two-thirds of this years tomato crop are still green. Healthy but definitely green, which has left me once again trawling through the recipe books so as not to waste the harvest. October is also the month for picking red chilli peppers and Bramley cooking apples, making this a deliciously seasonal chutney.

Green Tomatoes and Chilli Peppers

Green Belle and Celine Tomatoes and Mixed Chilli Peppers

When we blog recipes we often worry that we’re not crediting them correctly but given that I’m rubbish at following them and usually end up adding ingredients or leaving some out, making up recipes can come quite naturally as a result. On this occasion it appears to have worked as initial tasting is quite sumptuous (and most chutney recipes are based on a similar variety of ingredients anyway). The chutney is quite sweet yet because of the additional chilli peppers, leaves a fiery aftertaste (depending upon how many you add). The flavours can only improve over the next few weeks as they are allowed to blend.

The quantity given will make around nine jars of various sizes (I have a lot of green tomatoes!) so halve or quarter it to your own needs.

Green Tomato & Red Chilli Pepper ChutneyIngredients

1.6kg green tomatoes, diced
400g Bramley cooking applies, diced
600g red or white onions or scallions, diced
1-3 red chilli peppers to taste
4 cloves garlic
500ml cider vinegar
2.5cm piece root ginger, finely chopped or grated
160g sultanas
400 g soft brown sugar

Add all the ingredients to a large stainless steel saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer for around an hour or two or until liquid has a firmer consistency and isn’t as runny and the ingredients resemble a chunky chutney.

Empty into freshly sterilised jars and seal whilst the ingredients are hot. Leave for around three weeks to allow the flavours to blend and settle before serving.

Chutney makes a delicious accompaniment to cheese and freshly baked bread.

Tomato and Chilli Chutney

Green Tomato and Red Chilli Chutney