Life in the fast lane

15 06 2013

For someone as anti-driving as me, I’ve sure clocked up more than my fair share of it in the last couple of weeks……

Where's Stanthorpe again...?

Where’s Stanthorpe again…?

following that epic trip when I delivered the batteries to their new owners, I had to then drive Glenda some 425km to Stanthorpe where she was involved in an art exhibition.  She even managed to sell a couple of her expensive pots, and it nearly covered the cost of our little holiday.

The Graduate

The Graduate

To rub salt into the wound, my mother’s been diagnosed with cancer (it seems it was found in time…) and that entailed more driving to Brisbane to support her and my sister…..  then Glenda graduated from Central Queensland Uni with a Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries, and back in the car to Maroochydore for the day…….  Of course nothing got done here.  Well, almost nothing.

On the way back from Stanthorpe we bought a case of Roma tomatoes from the farmer at a roadside stall for twelve bucks.  They weren’t cheap but they were prime fruit.  I haven’t had much luck growing tomatoes for the last couple of years, it seems it’s either to dry or too wet, and perhaps because I have a tendency to let self seeded things take over, I haven’t been rotating them as I’m told is necessary, and now they’ve been growing everywhere it’s possible the soil’s not letting the darn things grow to fruition.  Of course there’s fruit fly too…..   sigh….

passata2I’ve seen passata made on TV with special equipment Italians use all the time, but I use a Belgian invention known as apassata5 ‘Passe Vite’ which my mother (who was born in Belgium like me) constantly used when I was a kid……  I had never seen one here since arriving in 1963 until quite recently when in a kitchen shop in Noosa (not exactly the cheapest place to buy kitchen equipment..!), and I just had to have it.  My terrible memory thinks I paid seventy or eighty bucks for it, but it’s used a fair bit, and it seems well made and I don’t mind parting with money for something that’s actually useful.

passata3To make the sauce, I first cut the fruit in half and squeeze the juice and seeds out before poaching them in water (in thepassata4 AGA oven of course!).  Once nice and soft, I puree the lot in the Passe Vite which retains the skin and other bits you don’t want in your passata like the stalks…..

Then it’s back in the oven with the sieved juice and salt and pepper to reduce and thicken.  For the first time I sterilised my jars in the AGA’s warming oven instead of using bucketloads of boiling water, just like I saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall do on TV recently.  Seems to have worked, the seals are still good after a week.

IMG_0338Was it worthwhile?   In the end I barely had more sauce than what one can buy at Aldi’s for the same money…..  You can see why hardly anyone bothers to do this and why so many people think I’m mad sometimes…….  but the sauce was made with prime quality fruit, unlike the shop stuff which is almost certainly made with tomatoes that can’t be sold in the shops because they’re over ripe and/or marked.  And besides, the farmer got my money instead of some sociopathic corporation!

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6 responses

15 06 2013
Graham

Ah but Mike the day is coming when you won’t be able to go to the supermarket and buy bottled tomato sauce from Italy or “freshly baked bread” in store that has been shipped frozen from Ireland.

15 06 2013
mikestasse

Hmmmm….. sounds like you shop at Coles….!

17 06 2013
Graham Palmer

Certainly not but when Peak oil hits it could potentially be just three days from no food on the shelves and as for “in store fresh baked bread” in Coles,I just read the news -;)

19 06 2013
lemmiwinks

I made some passata (with a lot of seeds in it) from my leftover tomatoes recently, but without the benefit of one of those machines. Let me tell you, it’s possibly the best seventy or eighty bucks you’ll ever spend if you intend on making passata! I doubt I’ll do it without a machine again, it was pretty miserable.

19 06 2013
mikestasse

So glad I didn’t waste my money then……..!

20 06 2013
lemmiwinks

Definitely not! Now, can I borrow it next autumn 😉

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