Tomato day

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March 3rd 2007
Published: March 6th 2007
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A love affair with the tomatoA love affair with the tomatoA love affair with the tomato

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The Hikers have been avoiding the bush over the last month - mostly cycling and swimming to avoid the heat and danger (fire, snakes) of the South Australian summer.

But we have been missing the blog and we would like to tell you about a very special event that happened last Saturday. This was the day that the Hikers learnt the secret of making tomato sauces in their backyard. The man with the secrets (add equipment) was Rito. Together we cooked up the yummiest and freshest tasting pasta and tomato sauces ever. It was a big day with all of us putting in a 10 hour shift - but we certainly slept well on Saturday night with our bellies full of pasta and wine.

I hope you enjoy the pictorial record of the event and the cooking tips. We are all very grateful to Rito for his amazing contribution to our current and future culinary delights.

Dan says ...

Hello Readers!

How long has it been since I last wrote to you. Ages it seems. I really think this could be a great blog entry - food - food - food - my favourite subject!

Boy was it great to make your own sauce - the smell of the onions, butter, olive oil was heavenly! But lunch was greater; Pasta, Infinite mountains of pasta .... with a river of delicious pasta sauce.

But it was hard work - we were zonked - but you do get something good at the end. We have already started to eat our way through it with some incredibly yummy dinners.

And now, what you have all been missing - a joke and a riddle ...

First, have you heard the one about the garbage can? Don't worry about it, it is a load of rubbish!
And second, a riddle

Q: I have spears in my back and and nails in my ribs, feet I do lack. What am I?

A: A sailing ship
Did you get it?

See you soon!

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


The tomatoes arriveThe tomatoes arrive
The tomatoes arrive

Yes that is 14 cases of Roma tomatoes arriving on Thursday night for airing and ripening for Saturday's event
Spread outSpread out
Spread out

To help with the ripening the tomatoes were laid on cloth for a few days to turn red and sweet

Saturday - and time to set up the production line for 2 batches of pasta sauce and 1 batch of plain tomato sauce.
Washing and squeezingWashing and squeezing
Washing and squeezing

The boys worked on producing the tomato pulp, by washing and squeezing to release the seeds
Tomato fleshTomato flesh
Tomato flesh

Ready for cooking the pasta sauce

Suitably protected, I had the job of dicing the onions
Onions in waterOnions in water
Onions in water

No frying - the onions are boiled in water until cooked.
Garlic and chilliGarlic and chilli
Garlic and chilli

The garlic is lovingly prepared to avoid bruising.
Dried oreganoDried oregano
Dried oregano

The package was crushed and the wire sieve used to separate the leaves
Cook upCook up
Cook up

Onions, tomatoes, olive oil, butter, oregano, salt, garlic and chilli - add heat and stir
Fresh basilFresh basil
Fresh basil

In the clean jars
Pour in and capPour in and cap
Pour in and cap

Fabulous smell ...
First batch doneFirst batch done
First batch done

This made 70 x 750ml jars of sauce
Lunch timeLunch time
Lunch time

First taste - sensational!
Second batch of sauceSecond batch of sauce
Second batch of sauce

In the background the third batch of tomatoes are being cooked in water until they split and then used to make sauce.
Cooked tomatoesCooked tomatoes
Cooked tomatoes

Squeezed to get juice out so pulp can be made into sauce
Italian sauce machineItalian sauce machine
Italian sauce machine

Rito operates the sauce machine, catching the skins to be reprocessed for extra sauce
Sauce readySauce ready
Sauce ready

A little salt and it is ready
Bottling the sauceBottling the sauce
Bottling the sauce

Peter on capping duty
The steriliserThe steriliser
The steriliser

The sauce bottles were layered in a 44 gallon drum, filled with water, boiled for an hour and then allowed to cool
All doneAll done
All done

About 140 bottles of pasta sauce and 70 tomato sauce ready to store away - that is Italian food 4 times a week for the rest of the year - yummy!

7th March 2007

What an unbelievable amount of tomatos and tomato sauce!! Are you going to eat it all yourselves? You can always send some over!! BR. Bas
7th March 2007

great! where did you get all of those tomatoes? Bellisimo! it would be nice to have the exact recipe as we are about to harvest the remains of our crop after the hail.
7th March 2007

Tomato Source
Hi Polly, Rito organised the ingredients and jars. The tomatoes were from Victoria and, I believe, it was all organised through the Adelaide Fresh fruiterer at Prospect. To make 70 x 420ml jars of sauce there was 4-5 cases of tomates washed and de-seeded, 15 large red onions diced and cooked in water until soft, 12 cloves of garlic delicately diced (no chopping board - only in your hand), leaves of 1 dried oregano pack; 8 thin chillies thinly sliced, 1-2 cups salt, 500 g butter, a litre or more of olive oil (I didn't see this part I was just judging by what was left in the drum). The washed basil in the jar had a piece of flower as well as a leaf and we used 3-4 bunches for 70 jars. It is Rito's special recipe, but he said he made it up only 4 years ago. Love, Diana

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