Tomato Jam & Hot Hot Sauce!

At the beginning of Spring we had a plan. We sowed trays of sweetcorn, beetroot, lettuce and tomatoes. The leeks, onions and potatoes were in the ground and the courgette plants bought. When the weather was warm enough we started planting in our garden and thought about what we would make with our bountiful produce. What we didn't anticipate was how much we would be working throughout the summer, how easy it is to forget about the garden as it is not directly attached to the house, and that despite buying a water butt it still sadly sits in the corner waiting to be filled with all that summer (now autumn) rain.

The only one of our neglected plants that has survived has been the tomatoes, which have grown despite falling over under their weight due to lack of pruning, and no watering other than what's fallen from above. So what to do with all of them?! Paola Westbeek gave me an idea with her spiced tomato jam in the September edition of The Quercy Local. I have previously made a chilli tomato jam from this book but I much preferred the flavour and texture of Paola's spiced version. We've had it so far with cheese, on BBQ'd meat and as a dip. It's so versatile, easy to make, and will hopefully see us through until Christmas.

Sauces are Andrew's speciality and let's just say he likes them hot! He went off to the supermarket to buy chillies for his tomato sauce and he came back with 4 scotch bonnets (the only chilli we seem to be able to find around here.) I wasn't with him when he made the sauce and I winced slightly when he said that he put all 4 of them in!! We tried it alongside some of the most tender BBQ'd steak and wow it packs a punch! Thankfully however the burn doesn't linger for too long. Andrew thinks this has something to do with roasting the scotch bonnets in the oven first before blending them together with the tomatoes. So after the initial heat it dies away and you can go back for more without worrying too much that you're not going to be able to taste the rest of your food.

What's your favourite recipe for preserving tomatoes?

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