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Saturday, April 17, 2010


Greetings folks and the cooking column has been on a hiatus for a couple of weeks. We are still here in the desert southwest and the heat is starting up again and I had hoped we would be out of here up north on the great northern prairies by now. I was all set to grow a garden for the northern growing season. My farming cousins are all doing this and I am green with envy. Never mind, we will get there. Talking of growing things, carrots and tomatoes are two of the easiest things to grow. Tomatoes are truly wonderful nowadays for the variety you are able to grow and how you are able to grow them. They are so very good for you health wise. Dried powdered tomatoes are so useful in the kitchen and easy to make. Carrots are another wonderful vegetable and one of the most useful. I especially like carrots juiced – the taste is sublime. Carrot candy is a fun thing to make and both the things today can be made by the young folk – under supervision of course. My grandmother was really into teaching us to cook and prepare a meal as early as she thought we could understand things. She maintained that when you chose to leave the family home, then you should be able to cook reasonably well. So, here then are then is Carrot Candy and Dried Powdered Tomato, both of which Grandma might have questioned!!


1 lb peeled carrots - grated
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ginger (ground)
¼ cup (approx.) ground almonds
1 cup nuts – own choice – chopped fairly small

Grate carrots on a fine grater. Put in a heavy based saucepan with the sugar and cook over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and cook very slowly, stirring frequently until the carrot has absorbed all the moisture and the mix is quite thick. Add the ginger and nuts, stirring well and scraping the sides of the pot. Test a little on a saucer or plate and if it sets, quickly stir in the nuts. Remove from the saucepan and spread quickly on a damp board or on a flat surface. When cool mark into square pieces if you want and break when cold. If you don’t mark the candy and choose to break when cold, then you might have some quite weird shapes. Allow to dry well before storing in an airtight container. This is quite yummy.


On a large baking tray, put thinly sliced tomatoes in a single layer (enough to cover the tray) and put in a fairly low-heated oven for several hours. When thoroughly dry, remove and crush by whatever method you like. I like to put dried vegetables in a plastic bread bag and roll them with my wooden French rolling pin. Put the crushed tomatoes in a sieve and with the back of a spoon push them through the sieve and store in an airtight container. They make a wonderful seasoning and if you don’t want to put a traditional pasta sauce on top of pasta, then a little olive oil, the dried tomato powder and a few fresh herbs, finely chopped, some finely chopped garlic or garlic chives, make a nice and tasty alternative to traditional sauce. The tomato powder is nice added to mayonnaise to.

Well I hope this finds you all well and safe. Take care out there – life seems to be difficult for quite a lot of folk. Do the best you can and I will talk to you again soon. Happy cooking to you.

Here is a pic of my kitchen supervisor – her name is Ginny. She is quite bossy! Cheers, Kate.

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