green tomato relish

i think i am obsessed by roasting. the plain old boiled veg just doesn't seem to be good enough for me any more. instead, i want to roast anything i can lay my hands on. tonight, it's purple sprouting broccoli to go with the fish. i made it the same as this but without prawns.

actually, i am obsessed with purple sprouting broccoli too. you get a little bit bored of it towards the end of the season but at the moment it's all i want to eat. even r asked if we could get some more when we were in the arsey woman shop the other day, saying it's his favourite.

by the way, the reason i call it the arsey woman shop is because i can never elicit so much as a smirk out of them, let alone a smile. there are a few women of all ages working there, all perfectly nice, but it's taken me almost five years of going there all the time to get so much as a sentence. i try - i do my best shop chat, the one i use at the butcher's next door where it seems to work. you know the kind i mean - the pointless banter that makes these things work a bit more smoothly; it should pass the time for them while making me feel like a valued customer or something. so - it's arsey woman shop for now. there's a bloke in there too, mind - he grins a lot more. he has a front tooth missing and makes jokes about melons.

anyway, the dinner was okay though probably no more than that. the broccoli was nice, as was the grilled mackerel, and r enjoyed the fennel i just braised in a pan with a little bit of water. the most interesting bit about it was the green tomato relish i made to go with it. the recipe came from the mark hix cookery book (whose mackerel photo doesn't look any more exciting than mine).

abel&cole keep sending me green tomatoes and i never know what to do with them. when my indigestion was at its worse, just looking at a bunch of those buggers was enough to make me feel like i am being strangled by their green tendrils. so i'd leave them on a window still in a fruit bowl, hoping they'd ripen. all that would happen is that they'd go a little more red but still taste kind of...pallid. they'd invariably end up cooked, as heat and copious amounts of seasoning were the only thing to make them taste of something.

though, in a way, i quite like the idea of a green tomato. they're not let's-pretend-we're-italian tomatoes you see so often in supermarkets, the ones that can look the right shade of red but taste of absolutely nothing at all. (my pet hate, in addition to large chunks of red onion that have ruined many a salad: those hard, tasteless tomatoes, always quartered, served straight from the fridge, purporting to be salad. i think i'd rather starve, thanks.) they make no claims to be ripe, juicy or sweet. they're just a vegetable.

because they're so acidic, they go perfectly with the fatty mackerel. the hix recipe calls for quite a lot of sugar to counterbalance this acidity, which i leave out. i can see why it would be better for it but don't think you'll miss it too much.

for four

4 large green tomatoes
1 tbs of cider vinegar
salt and pepper
1 onion
small bunch of parsley

the original recipe calls for lovage instead of parsley. now, i don't even know what lovage is or where to find it, so forget lovage and just use something common instead. i should also add that you can make this with the normal tomatoes, as they're bound to be under-ripe anyway. 

halve the tomatoes, squeeze out the seeds (this is fun though makes a bit of a mess as the seeds tend to explode everywhere - dig them out with a teaspoon instead), and chop roughly.

chop the onion and fry gently in oil until soft, for about 4 or 5 minutes. add the cider vinegar, cook for another minute, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2 or three minutes. take off the heat, stir in the finely chopped parsley, and leave to cool.


  1. I was laughed at the other night for declaring that purple sprouting broccoli is my favourite type of broccoli. I'm glad that R and I are of the same mind on this


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