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Autumn is already proving to be the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and, as such, my thoughts have been turning to hearty, warming food! This weekend I had planned to bake a tasty sourdough loaf from my new starter, however my husband thought he’d left the oven on accidentally, and so turned it off after my loaf had been in for ten minutes…

Ah well, these things happen. I have fed my starter again and will try afresh tomorrow. I will blog more about sourdough and bread in general in the future, in case you want to think about joining me and making your own.

In terms of autumn harvests, we only have a smallish yard with a makeshift lean to greenhouse and plants in tubs. Nevertheless, this year we have somehow managed to grow enough chillies for me to make my own scorching chilli powder, a few aubergines, some peppers and more tomatoes than we know what to do with!

Naturally our on-off summer subsequently left me with about 16lbs of green tomatoes, which we have had to harvest before the rain/frosts start and the fruits rot. It’s a variety called Marmande, that don’t have many seeds and have lovely ridges round, so they look like mini green pumpkins!

Hmm, what to do?

I naturally turned, first (he’s my hero), to a Nigel Slater recipe for Green Tomato Chutney and made four humungous jars of it. This is moreish stuff! You can stir it into casseroles or tomato-based sauces, to add a zing, top a burger with it or enjoy at its best with just a chunk of tasty Lancashire on a crisp cracker. It would also be a nice gift for friends, done up in a fancy jar.

I was still left with about half, though. Other measures were clearly needed, so I added some to my dinner: simple sautéed peppers with onions and sumac, served with baked goat/s cheese – they softened up a treat and added a fresh fruity note. I also had them fried for breakfast today, with cheese/chive scrambled egg on a wholemeal bagel.

Not content to leave it at that, I added both a spoonful or two of chutney and chunks of thefruit to my vegetable tagine this evening. If you want a really delicious, easy, versatile, one-pot dish that will transport you instantly to warmer climes, you can’t go far wrong with a tagine. I use ras-el-hanout (a Turkish spice mix) and rosewater in mine – both of which are quite easily available now. You can serve with rice, couscous or flatbreads and the delicate spicing means all the family can enjoy it.

Anyway, back to the harvest; who knew that green tomatoes could be so versatile andtasty? Certainly not me, but now I’m sold on them. I’ve even found a recipe for green tomato cake that I’m tempted to try!

When I bought that £1 pack of seeds from a well-known budget supermarket (yes, Aldi) inthe spring, I didn’t realise I would end up with such a tasty dilemma this autumn. If you’re in the same boat and trying vainly to ripen stragglers on the windowsill, I say to you, embrace the green tomato! You’ll be glad you did.

If you have any great green tomato recipes, or want some tagine tips, why not get in touch here

Blog by- Carole Ogden

For Bolton Live!