Too much of a Good Thing

Whoever said that you can never get too much of a good thing obviously didn’t see Amar planting his tomatoes. If they had they would have had a change of heart and turned it into too much of anything can make you sick.

Home grown produce at our family friendly gites in france

We always end up with too much produce but usually it’s ok – we have plenty to eat and enough to offer to guests and friends. This year though Amar surpassed himself with his over zealous market gardening. The thinking behind this was well intentioned – freshly picked home grown organic produce along with newly laid eggs from our little flock of hens all on Les Crouquets’ doorstep…. well, if you’re a guest, what’s not to like?

home grown produce at our family friendly holiday cottages in france

A tomato mountain in my kitchen

But if you are the wife and your better half has just sneaked off for a week’s holiday, leaving you with the choice of either letting it all go to waste or spending a week  chained to the cooker, dreaming up new and inventive recipes for a thousand kilos of tomatoes while simultaneouly juggling a long To Do list à la Martha Stewart, suddenly the whole Good Life / back to nature / wholesome food scenario takes on a brand new perspective ….

To be fair, it was the weather’s fault – it didn’t play the game this year and we didn’t really have a Plan B for all of this excess stuff so somehow we found ourselves at the end of the season with no guests, a mountain of fruit and veg and no room in the freezers.

So, it’s been a busy week! As luck would have it my Mum recently found a nifty cooking tip for skinning and pulping tomatoes and shared it on Facebook. I stashed it away thinking I would maybe try it one day and I’m so glad I did … it has saved me hours of work! (And the hens get the thin left over skins so no waste!)

home grown fruit at our french country cottages

Great time saving tip!!

Here’s what I’ve cooked up so far….

  • Tomato and basil soup
  • Tomato and mint soup
  • Yellow tomato and pumpkin soup
  • Italian tomato sauce
  • Tomato pulp (lots of!!)
  • Tomato tarts
  • Ratatouille (with courgettes, aubergines and peppers also from the garden)
frozen home grown produce

A Winter’s supply of soup and sauce !

And every lunch and dinner has had some form of tomato in it!

  • Cherry tomatoes (red, yellow and purple ones)
  • Plum tomatoes
  • Beef tomatoes
  • Double beef tomatoes
  • Round tomatoes
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Purple tomatoes
  • Cornus des Andes *

And it isn’t only our own stuff we have to worry about ….. a few days ago I was having an early morning coffee contemplating the day ahead when I heard footsteps on the gravel outside our house. I wasn’t expecting anyone so early so I peeked out the window to see someone leaving with a wheelbarrow which looked suspiciously like one of ours.

I instantly had a flashback to our wheelbarrow full of Amar’s tools which he had left under L’Atelier’s patio.

Now, we all know it’s as safe as houses here, the crime rate is low to zero and people leave their cars with the keys in the ignition for weeks on end so why I did what I did next is a mystery to me.  Maybe it was the fact that I was Home Alone which had set my security senses on high alert , or maybe just every now and then the townie genes come out for a bit of practice, who knows but I flew off the chair like a woman possessed and along the hall to get a better look from the bathroom window. Seeing the back of a big man pushing our wheelbarrow I ran back down the hall grabbing slippers and a jumper from the bedroom on the way past and sped downstairs attempting to get dressed in the process. This is fine when you’re a twenty something … alas in my haste I forgot that I’d left that era behind a few decades ago. I slipped on the step and nearly broke a leg half hopping, half hurtling down with one slipper on, one off and a jumper with the arms inside out half over my head at a funny angle which was obscuring my blurred vision (hadn’t thought to pick up my glasses which were on the office desk). No matter, I got to the front door, turned the key, clattered out the door and just about broke the other leg on four big pumpkins which had been neatly lined up on the step.

home grown produce from our French gites

Making yellow tomato and pumpkin soup with the farmer’s pumpkins!

It was then that I remembered our farmer neighbour has exactly the same wheelbarrow as us. He also has an extensive veggie plot. I immediately sent him a text to say thanks and would he like a massive bag of our tomatoes in return but no, of course he didn’t 🙁 !

Because of all the work going on at Les Crouquets and La Tour de Genèbre, half of the veggie patch which normally has potatoes , peas and broad beans didn’t get planted this year which is a bit of a mixed blessing but of course we still have loads of grapes ( more than usual as there haven’t been many wasps this year), lots of apples & figs and kiwis which are just about ready to pick.

home grown fruit at our french gites

lots of fruit still to pick!

There are still quite a few tomatoes still to ripen but it’s got quite chilly at night now so not the best of conditions …. I suppose I could make some green tomato chutney to rub shoulders with the 28 jars still languishing in the cellar from 2011 …. sigh ….

fresh tomatoes at our family friendly gites in france

Cornus des andes

* Cornus des Andes – lovely, long elongated tomatoes affectionately known around here as “Les couilles du pape”. I will refrain from translating for fear that Google may give me a hefty slap on the wrists and send me to the back of the queue, but when you do find out what it means, you didn’t hear it from me!!