Tomatoes fit for Simon Gault

Yesterday afternoon I hung out with chef and Masterchef NZ judge Simon Gault. Yep, it was just me and him. And his publicist. And a sound guy. And, oh, about 85 other people who had queued up to listen to him talk. Of course, it was work for him – he’s on a tour spruiking his new book – and it was work for me (I guess I was helping him spruik his new book) but it was really good fun.

If you think I’m being a terrible namedropper by throwing his name into conversation, you should have heard him. He’s swum with some pretty big culinary fish and made some big cheese connections as a result. And he has some incredible stories to tell about all of them. He reckons he’s not into celebrity chef culture but he’s definitely got a tell-all book in him. Or at least a film.

But my favourite bit was when he was talking about tomatoes, and bemoaning the horrible ones on sale in supermarkets. It was all I could do not to go up to him afterwards and say, ‘check out my tomatoes’. But I can say that to you, can’t I?

This is yesterday’s harvest: nine fleshy heirloom tomatoes, two rather stunted ears of sweetcorn and one juicy strawberry. I planted the tomatoes in November – which is pretty late – but our endless summer has been kind to them. It’s supposed to rain hard today (with water restrictions looming we are all keeping our fingers crossed) so I thought I better pick them just in case. We ate most of them last night, fried in olive oil and drizzled with red wine vinegar. Tomato heaven.

How is your garden growing at the moment?