Back in the UK all the Christmas presents were bought and wrapped, with input from Father Christmas of course, by the end of September. The online supermarket slot was booked as soon as it was available and I would be able to announce, rather smugly, that everything was ready. It was easy for a control freak to be organised!
Now life is rather different. The supermarkets in France don't add anything Christmassy until December and many shops don't do special gifts or the stocking fillers my children, (19 and 21) have grown up with. I was also rather gob-smacked when I saw a jar of preserved tomatoes for 7 Euros! Don't worry my kids probably won't have this in their stocking ...
My naughty little mind was set....With a garden full of tasty plum tomatoes there was only so much tomato sauce I could make. These would make fantastic, frugal and easy gifts when visiting friends for dinner or for ourselves with pasta or cheese.It is dead simple. Just a few hours in the oven but you don't need to do anything! Grab 16 plum tomatoes. Wash and slice and half from the core on a wire rack over a baking sheet, lined with foil. Sprinkle over salt, sugar, dried basil and olive oil. Stick them in the oven on the lowest setting, with the door ajar for about 8 hours. They should be pliable but dry. Divide the mixture between 4 sterilised jars. See my recipe for redcurrant jelly to sterilise: http://chezlerevefrancais.com/?p=48 You can add finely sliced garlic and herbs at this point. Top up the jars with olive oil. Shake slightly to get rid of any air and seal. Pretty them up... With labels... And hats... They should last for 2 years.
- 1kg or 16 plum tomatoes, sliced in half from core
- olive oil
- dried basil
- 2 sliced garlic cloves
- extra dried herbs
- Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a wire rack over an oven tray.
- Roast on lowest setting for about 8 hours with the door slightly open.
- Remove when dry and pliable and pot into about 4 sterilised jars.
- Cover totally with olive oil.
- They should keep for 2 years. Enjoy with cheese or pasta dishes.
- Great as a gift.