Tamarillo or not Tamarillo?

 

That’s the question.  We have just discovered a plant in the garden: long soft ovate leaves and elongated yellow fruits with the feel and structure of apples – even the same taste as I threw caution to the wind and ate one.  The plant finder App pronounced tamarillo (also known as the tree tomato).    But great friend and gardening researcher Elaine re-posted that they are the fruits of the passion flower: cause stomach upsets if eaten when still yellow rather than the golden peachy colour they should achieve when ripe.  I have no idea where the well-established shrub sprang from and why it has chosen to fruit this year or what it really is.  Any suggestions very welcome please.

This week I was finding a use for last year’s crop of chilli peppers.  They have been drying for many months so, once topped and tailed and de-seeded, I ground them with dried rosemary from the garden, dried thyme and powdered garlic.

A simple potato recipe for the mix:

Slice potatoes into thick slices (about 0.5 cm thick).

Throw the slices in to a bowl with a good grinding of black pepper, half a teaspoonful or so of salt, a teaspoon of the chilli/herb mix plus a good tablespoonful or two of olive oil.

Mix with your hands so that every surface of potato is covered.

Lay out on parchment paper and cook for about 45 minutes at Gas 4, turning the slices over after about 30 minutes.

Utterly delicious!

The potatoes were dished up with a roast chicken cooked the Heston way: soaked overnight in a litre of water plus 60g salt, slices of lemon and herbs.  Next day, drain, put the lemon slices inside the chicken and put into a roasting tin in the oven at the lowest heat.  The key piece of equipment is a thermometer (mine talks) and, after three or so hours, check that the temperature of the thickest piece of thigh has reached 70C (put it back in the oven if not hot enough).  When you are satisfied with the temperature, remove the chicken from the oven and cover with foil and a kitchen towel (the cotton sort).  Let it rest for about 45 minutes (while you cook the potatoes).

Turn the oven up to the highest temperature and remove all the coverings from the chicken – cook it for 10 minutes to produce a crisp, brown skin.

Serve everything with vegetables: easy roast chicken lunch.

And, while I was making this, I also cooked apple, date and walnut chutney using the same proportions and method as the damson version (posted a few weeks ago) – excellent.

(Plus, an apple crumble and a rhubarb and ginger (crystallised) crumble – a busy morning in the kitchen.  My crumble mix uses oats, brown sugar, crushed hazelnuts and butter – I prefer it to the flour version.

 

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Blind leading the blind in the Kitchen.

Nearly bloody Jam – not enough for a massacre but it could have been messy!  I had a new blind-leading-the-blind experience cooking alongside Madeline who also has limited sight but, together, we made her jam recipe.  It is especially simple as it doesn’t rely on checking temperatures.

Like me, she prefers using short knives in the kitchen because it is easier for us to feel what we are chopping.  And, of course, because I was showing off, I immediately nicked a finger.  Luckily for us, videographer toby spotted the blood and we could save the rest of the rhubarb.  The other piece of essential equipment is an always-to-hand dispenser of sticking plaster!

If you’ve not heard two people chatting about how they find life with blindness, this  is one to watch.

Following her success working within the NHS, Madeline is just about to launch her new business (www.madelineclose.com), specialising in gathering the real human stories that bring drier academic research to life.  She has a talent for “Discovery” interviews that have mainly been used in the retail trade but are going to be equally influential for many of the public services that we all use and need.  And, using her experience having a guide dog, she’s spent her spare time developing a unique dog-walker’s bag that should appeal to anyone with a hound: from the lovable pet to the working dogs of the police and others.

Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

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penny@bakingblind.com