Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Agony Aunt...

Earlier today we received a letter asking for advice and thought we would share it with you.

"Dear Piccalilly, I have a problem, and would like to know how you would handle it.

My father has spent lots of his time and effort growing Heirloom tomato varieties for me to serve to my friends.

Due to the sunny and warm summer we have had, dad has produced a bumper crop and I have way too many tomatoes to serve and some of them are getting too ripe, I would hate to have to throw them into the bin and waste all dad's hard work. What should I do?


Tomato Obsessed"

Dear Tomato Obsessed, we can absolutely identify, Iain's father too has been growing beautiful tomatoes, and we too, have more than we can use.

Here is how we dealt with the problem only today!: We made a beautiful fresh tomato consomme to serve as a palate cleanser, however you could serve it as a fantastic light, chilled soup or mix it with chilled vodka and Tabasco sauce for a take on the classic "Bloody Mary".

To start, separate your soft and over-ripe tomatoes. The softer and riper they are the better your consomme will be because the sugars and flavours will have fully-developed. If you have any damaged tomatoes, use them too - just cut the damaged bits off.

Place the tomatoes into your food processor, stalks and all. The stalks are the bit that contains the green tomato fragrance so keep them in, you could even add a couple of fresh tomato leaves straight off the bush, for good measure.

Pulse the tomatoes in the processor until you have a chunky mix, if you go too fine, your consomme will be cloudy.

It should look like this.

Stir in some sea salt to taste.

Add best quality sherry vinegar to taste. The vinegar will balance the tomatoes. You will need quite a bit. If you cannot find great sherry vinegar, make a gastrique with 1 part good white wine vinegar and 1 part caster sugar. Simply boil the two together and allow it to cool. Add to to the tomato puree to taste.

Gently ladle the tomato puree into a fine paper filter or a double layer of muslin cloth lining a sieve. Place the sieve over a deep bowl or bucket. The first couple of tablespoons will run through a little bit pink so tip that back in to the top of the mix, then next time it runs through it will be crystal clear.

Allow it to stand in the refrigerator for a few hours, or over night for as much of the clear liquid to run through as possible.

It should look like this. Discard the tomato pulp.

Taste the mix to make sure you have enough salt and vinegar. Serve it chilled with some baby basil!

Well, Tomato Obsessed, we hope this works for you and you enjoy it as much as we did!

Monday, March 22, 2010

An Homage to Velleron Market and Pork!

A couple of items to address in this post, firstly, it's tomatoes!

We have: Mortgage Lifters, Black Russians, Tigerellas, Beef Hearts, Green Zebras, Tommy Toes, Yellow Grapes, Red Grapes and Principe Borghese!

We finally have the full complement! As predicted they have all come at once with the threat of cold and frost so we have a huge stockpile in the dry-store at the moment with still more on the bushes. It will be tomato processing time at Piccalilly in the next few days as we cannot hope to serve them all as a salad, so we will keep you posted on what we do with them all.

Initially we were a bit concerned that we had invested a lot of time, money and effort in the tomato plants and would not see much of a return. The fact of the matter is that we are now dealing with so many tomatoes it is like a Provincial market!

The second thing is: A couple of weekends ago Elysia and Iain hosted an engagement party (don't worry we are talking food here, nothing mushy and romantic, those of you who know Iain will understand why) at Elysia's mum's house in Blackmans Bay. We organised a couple of spits and a couple of animals to roast on them.

We got a 20 kg pig from the Wursthaus in Cambridge and a little 2o kg goat from our friends at Rivendale Boer Goat Stud in Cradoc. We borrowed a coal fire spit from Nat and Mat at Monty's and got to roasting early on a beautiful Sunday morning.

We had a busy morning boiling 20kg of Huonville's finest organic Pinkeye potatoes for potato salad, and baking bread for around 70 of our friends and family, friends and family that made us grateful for being involved in the Hobart hospitality industry for so many years. We had so many great chefs, waiters, restaurateurs and wine industry types in attendance the function went off without a hitch with many willing and skillful hands to help.

Some of the crowd

Vince from The Henry Jones, Michael from Tassal, Klaa from The Islington Hotel and Iain from Piccalilly

The pig and the goat went over the heat at about 10am, and were well on their way to being juicy and delicious by the time our guests started to arrive.

Our little piggie!

The goat, well on it's way to being cooked, it was so tender that it started to fall off the spit.

crunchy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside!

Our outdoor prep kitchen

More helpers...

lots and lots of crackling


and the aftermath

Just a little bit of mushy, thanks to all those who made it down and helped out! We will see you soon.