I was harvesting tomatoes, onions, chilies and runner beans at 7am this morning from our Kitchen garden at Polesden lacey and delivering them to the restaurant to be transformed into a wicked, spicy relish to serve with the meat dishes on Today’s Menu.
This quirky-looking tomato, called ‘Costoluto Fiorentino’ is well worth trying in a greenhouse. As a child we used to call these ribbed type of tomatoes ‘traveller tomatoes’ as I was told that their divided shape meant explorers could break off sections with their hands and share with their travelling companions.
This year we’re growing them as cordons, in peat-free compost bags in the greenhouse at Polesden lacey and they’re producing a bumper crop. Costuluto Fiorentino is a beefsteak type of tomato that originates from Italy…eating one immediately transports you to sun-kissed Tuscan rolling hills. They are delicious eaten raw or added to salsa and chutneys. Alternatively, they add flavour and bulk to traditional Italian mince and pasta dishes such as bolognaise and lasagnes.
How to make Kevin's tomato and chilli relish
20g caraway seeds
20g mustard seeds
20g fennel seeds.
1 large onion – (we’ve used Red Baron from the garden – for extra colour)
500g brown sugar (you could use caster sugar, but brown sugar gives you a better flavour)
500g Runner beans – topped, tailed and sliced. (we’ve used Painted Lady variety)
500g Tomatoes (we used Alicante, Gardener’s delight and Costoluto Fiorentino’)
1) Fry the caraway, mustard and fennel seeds in a dry pan to pop the seeds and extract the best flavour.
2) Make a chilli oil (by simply chopping up a chilli and adding a dash of olive oil.) Choose a chilli that suits your taste buds.
3) Dice an onion and add it to the pan. Allow it to sweat.
4) Add the tomatoes, brown sugar and vinegar and leave to simmer for 1.5 hours.
5) Finally after it has simmered, quarter the cherry tomatoes (Kevin used our Gardener’s Delight variety from our greenhouse) and add to pot.
Simon’s tip - Garnish your dishes with the beautiful runner bean flowers. They are edible and taste almost as good as the beans.