Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Tomato... 741 grams of fruit heaven

Aurèle called round last evening and in his hands was a large plastic bowl containing a huge tomato grown in his garden, against the south facing wall. "Sept cents quarante grams", he informed me proudly.

"Just peel it, without boiling it, slice it up", he said, "and lay it out with a few leaves of basil and olive oil..." His fingers pinched together and he kissed the tips of them, in appreciation of good food, as Italians do.

"Voilà, magnifique," he said... "Bon appetit."

He waved as he turned away and walked back across to his own house and I went back in and showed the 740 gram tomato to Mrs Pondlife and suggested we should eat it the next day.

So the following morning before going off to earn a crust, I weighed it, and it came in at 741 grams; so I peeled the tomato that weighed 741 grams and the juices ran through my fingers and into the bowl over which I was working. Then I began to slice the tomato that weighed 741 grams, and the juices began to run quickly. I opened a bottle of olive oil and took a pinch or two of coarse salt and then went out onto the balcony and pulled several fresh basil leaves off the plant that has provided so much this summer. I tore the leaves and the smell permeated the kitchen and wafted into the living room and rose up and into our bedroom above; the fresh fragrant pungent perfume of basil. I sprinkled then over and between slices of the 741 gram tomato and splashed some more olive oil and a few drops of a good balsamic vinegar I'd just brought back from Italy.

I covered the bowl and put it into the fridge thinking we shall have that tonight with some fresh bread from 'La Croustillante'; Numéro deux fils wouldn't want any as he was going into Geneva to meet with mates and find a pub showing the England v Croatia game. But I was more interested in the taste of tomatoes that can weigh 741 grams...

...and so enthusiastic was I in the taste and the supper to come, that I forgot to take a photograph of it... so you'll just have to believe me. However, I went back the following day and photographed some more tomatoes hanging on the vine, and you can see Aurèle's hand giving scale to the tomatoes hanging, still ripening in the September sunshine.

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