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Archive for November, 2009

Last week all my tomato plants were in quarantine for possible fungal diseases after all the rain. However, the following heirlooms will be available in limited quantities tomorrow:

Great White, Cherokee Purple, Wapsipinicon Peach, and Ildi- not an heirloom but a brand new yellow plum that bears literally hundreds of fruits. Also still some Black Krim and Green Zebra… In other words- a rainbow feast of every colour tomato except red! Wait, there are a few plants of Montserrat, a Spanish tomato that was an unknown regional treasure until it was put on the map by the famous chef Ferran Adria. My seeds came from Spain years ago when my artist friend Hannetjie de Clercq wanted to bring me something special from her trip to Spain and this was recommended by the locals, along with some seed of psychedelic purple carrots! Here is a link to a description and photo’s:

http://www.gourmandbreaks.com/blog/news/foodies-corner/montserrat-tomatoes/

Montserrat grows well in hot summers, and the large hollow fruits have an old-fashioned thin skin and a mild sweet taste.

As for the others, here are some photo’s to whet your appetite:

Cherokee Purple

Transparent Tomato

Wapsipinicon Peach

Great White

Ildi Tomato

All plants have been growing like mad after the rain and there will be some herbs and other seedlings available. If your rocket has lived up to its name and bolted, I recommend the yellow-flowered wild rocket, Diplotaxis Tenuifolia. It will supply you with small tasty leaves all summer without bitterness setting in. Flowering stems can be cut back and the basal rosette will keep on sprouting new stalks. Ordinary rocket should only be sown when the days shorten again.

Wild Rocket

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I felt a small pang selling my last potted Green Zebra seedling at the market today. However my one transplant in the garden is already outgrowing the other varieties that were planted at the same time, and making interesting semi-double flowers. Its growth has been so impressive, not to mention the write-ups about its taste, and lastly the intriguing colouring that I am going to sow my remaining seeds at once and share them. An extremely vigorous plant bearing clusters of 5cm  tomatoes in stripey green ripening to a yellowish green. The emerald coloured flesh is very tasty and this tomato often wins taste tests for its mild yet tangy flavour.green zebra

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Today’s kitchen mission: green walnutsI am the lucky owner of two walnut trees, and these unripe, soft green walnuts can be used to make wonderful pickles, vinegar, preserves and liqueur. Apparently they are eagerly awaited in the markets of Paris and command very high prices during their short season. With luck some of these products will be ready for our Christmas Market in December.

The tricky part is to remember to pick them at exactly the right stage, as they go hard very quickly once they are formed.  Another tricky bit involves the fact that the trees are very high…

As a child one of my favourite fairy tales was about the princess who had to weave in silence to turn her brothers from swans back into princes. The wicked stepmother dyed her skin brown with walnut juice before casting her out of the palace. This detail fascinated me as a child and I can now at last vouch that you should definitely wear plastic gloves when handling green walnuts! They oxidise and turn black when pickled as well.Nevertheless they are very pleasant and fragrant to work with and I can’t wait to post (and taste) the results.

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