I'm really passionate about home-grown veg for loads of reasons really. Obviously it just tastes so much better fresh from the garden but there's also something wonderful and self sufficient about simply stepping out into your back garden and picking some strawberries for your cereal or digging up some fresh potatoes to have with dinner. It's a great activity to do with your children and they seem much more amenable to eating vegetables when they have grown it themselves!
Last year we did really well with our runner beans but as I like to experiment with different things each year we have decided that 2013 is the year of peas and tomatoes Luckily the very nice people from Heinz sent me and the children one of their fantastic grow your own tomato kits so we now have some tomato seedlings on our windowsill and baby pea plants happily growing away.
Although our tomatoes have still got a long way to go until they make it into our kitchen I thought I would share with you one of my favourite tomato based recipes - a grow your own pasta sauce. Of course you can make it with tinned tomatoes but fresh is SO much better!
I also have a top tip for you about how to peel fresh tomatoes. Simply pour boiling water over them and pierce the skin with a knife. The skin will then start to split apart easily and they can be peeled really easily
So here is "Tarts Spaghetti" a family favourite of ours which we learnt from the wonderful Delia Smith. It's really flavoursome and light and perfect for an al-fresco summers lunch.
10 large fresh tomatoes
chopped black olives
1 small chilli
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 onion diced
Heat the olive oil gently in a pan and fry the onion, diced chilli and garlic for 5 minutes
Add the chopped peeled tomatoes, olives and tomato purée and let them simmer in a pan with the lid off for around 40 minutes by which time it would have reduced down to a lovely sauce.
Serve on top of spaghetti with lashing of parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves.
If you fancy having a go at growing your own you can get your free seeds from the Heinz Facebook Page