2014 Home kitchen garden

Last summer I decided to grow my own herbs and tomatoes. Being a chef and luckily enough living with outside garden space, I thought it would be a good time to start growing a few things.

My wife and I decided to grow things that we will be able to use up easily and if need be dry out and keep for a later date.

So we decided to grow:

Tomatoes
Chilies, Basil, Coriander, Parsley, Bell Peppers (which I just took the seeds out of a pepper and dried them and then planted) 

The photo below is the first ripened tomatoes we got.

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As we were off on our first family holiday with 5 month old Matilda at the time, I decided to oven the dry the tomatoes and keep them in an air tight container with olive oil. 

Recipe:

Tomatoes Salt Caster Suger
Smoked paprika

Once semi dry:

Olive oil
Veg oil
Garlic clove 

Method

Pre heat your oven on the lowest temperature.

Half the tomatoes, place on to a baking tray and season with the other ingredients. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and leave to dry out for 3-4hrs depending on the size of the tomatoes.
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Once all the tomatoes are semi dried place them in to a container and cover with half olive oil and half vegetable oil with a crushed clove of garlic to add flavour.
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We also made basil pesto from the huge basil plant that we have.

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Pesto is packed full of flavour and can be used in a number of things like Salads, pasta dishes, with lamb or as a sauce or dressing. I like to have our pesto with gnocchi.

 Pesto recipe: 

 Basil 50g
Olive oil 35g
Pine nuts/Almonds 20g
Grated Parmesan 15g
Garlic clove x 1
Ground black pepper to season

Method:

Place all the ingredients in to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste the pesto and adjust any of the ingredients if you would like them to be stronger.

(Make sure to wash the basil first if it’s from your own garden before blending)

Our coriander plant did not work out so well as it did not grow fully but did produce a lot of seeds in which I gave to my dad to grow as I did not have any more space to do so.
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The chillies were only starting to sprout. In time I had put them to good use as I love a bit heat in my food. If I could get enough from the plants I would air dry them (which I did) and save some of the seeds to grow again. 

Question:

Have you grown your own home kitchen garden before and what have you made with the wonderful ingredients from it?

You can see some of my other food pictures on Instagram @mircelmcchef

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