The first of December is the first day of Summer in Australia. With a week to go the temperature has already hit over 30 deg C the last couple of days. There is a day, usually around the end of November, when the sun comes out here in Western Australia and there it stays until around the end of April – we will be lucky to see any rain.
As I sit here enjoying the cooling sea breeze, sipping on a glass of Pinot Grigio and enjoying a mouthful of bruschetta, I look out towards my veggie patch at the burgeoning green growth. I do so with more than just a hint of satisfaction. My previous green fingered attempts have not been too successful but I have great hopes for a wonderful Christmas harvest.
My herb garden is looking nothing less than magnificent – rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, oregano, basil, coriander, sage, mint – the heady bouquet as I run my hand through them all is sublime.
My veggie patch contains a variety of produce: Swiss chard, fennel, cucumber, tomatoes, rocket and strawberries. I have already harvested some young Swiss chard leaves and wilted them through pasta and look forward to teaming my fennel with some Christmas pork and also shaved through salads. The tomatoes and cucumbers are headed for Greek salads, bruschettas and raitas. The strawberries will be divine on their own or teamed with an aged balsamic over vanilla ice cream.
Hopefully the hot Australian sun and bugs will not dash my hopes of an abundant harvest. Staying positive, I am sharing my recipe for tomato bruschetta – always popular at a barbecue or just with drinks.
Cherry tomatoes halved or larger tomatoes chopped (vine ripened are best, especially if they are your own home grocwn!)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ciabatta or Sourdough Bread
Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes with rock salt and add a little extra virgin olive oil and tear some basil leaves (do not chop them as they will go black) and fold through. Leave the mixture for a little while for the flavours to develop.
Toast or grill your bread and rub with the garlic clove whilst it is still warm and then pile the tomato and basil mixture onto the bread.
This is a wonderfully flavourful taste of summer.
Standby for more recipes from the veggie patch…….