Sometimes it’s timely to be reminded of how fortunate we are.
This year we have witnessed various natural disasters in our country and worldwide which have had tremendous and overwhelming ramifications for so many millions of people.
Time to step back and consider how lucky we are to have available to us any commodity we desire – most of the time. In seasons past, if there has not been an over-abundance of inexpensive fresh tomatoes to make the huge annual batch of my favourite chutney, I’ve used the tinned variety.
I always make enough to last all year, and then some. The extras are given to friends as little gifts – and as this recipe is still a jealously guarded one – the recipients are always glad to receive!
My resolve in regard to buying tinned tomatoes is only to buy Australian-grown and processed ones and I urge you to do the same.
The price difference between the very cheap Italian canned tomatoes is very appealing budget wise, and their flavour is second to none – but my conscience reels at supporting an industry that virtually uses slave labour.
Kinda makes them taste somewhat sour.
Lo and behold a kindly green-thumbed neighbour arrived on Sunday with a generous bag of home-grown tiny tomatoes – all different colours and varieties. They did almost look too good to eat!
Some were of the heritage variety, and with nary a moment lost between picking and eating, I was savouring slices of these gems on a thick slice of olive bread, with a drizzle of olive oil and some basil.
The tiny toms were still warm from the wonderful sunshine, which made their flavour even more delicious. What’s not to like?
Without the relatively inexpensive bottling or relish tomatoes available yet, I decided to change tack and make small batches of a delicious tomato jam – with a twist!
This is a subtly exotic recipe I was treated to when I was in that gorgeous riad cooking class in Marrakech quite a while back.
You’ll find, I’m sure as I did, that the wonderful aromas of this jam cooking in the kitchen will fuel you with warmth and sensuous tastes that will transport you to other climes, other cultures.
Keep it stored in the pantry and it will help beat the winter gloom that will be descending upon us before too long. It would make a great accompaniment to a spicy lamb pie, or simply spooned onto slices of a good, crusty baguette that has first been drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil – a kind of middle-eastern “bruschetta” to go with a homely Moroccan spiced tomato and red lentil soup!
So even if I don’t have the enormous supplies of my favourite chutney – I can at least savour the small but gem-like smaller A kindly green-thumbed neighbour’s generous bag of home-grown tiny tomatoes.
portions of this Moroccan tomato jam.
To make the jam is so simple. The ingredients are all combined in a pot and cooked very slowly, reducing down to a “jammy” consistency.
Ras el hanout – a traditional Moroccan spice mix – can be obtained at specialist grocers and many supermarkets. The combination of spices varies greatly as the literal translation is “top (or head) of the shop”, implying the spice seller will combine the very best to make their own particular blend.
Ras el hanout will usually include cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric.
I hope you enjoy this delicious condiment, and have fun making it at home. Perhaps, unlike me, you are able to grow your own tomatoes and will feel doubly proud of your very own plot-to-plate production!