Sunday, 11 October 2009

Damsons, cats, more soya milk and a deeply rich tomato sauce

Part two of my So Good soya milk tasting took part today, when I collared my lovely next-door neighbours, Tom and Megan, to blind taste two smoothies: one cow's milk and one So Good milk. It's my standard Sunday morning mixture of banana, honey and milk whizzed together, with the addition of the flesh of a mango I bought last week at Shepherd's Bush market. Here we have Tom swigging down glass B...
...while Megan samples glass A. They liked both smoothies, although they thought glass A, the soya version, was sweeter. Now that I've used So Good, I could tell which was which just by smelling them. In the end, and before I revealed which was which, Tom preferred the soya while Megan liked the cow's milk best. I much preferred the cow's milk...but then, I don't have that sweet a tooth and a smidgen of bias is creeping in. But clearly, So Good did work well in this experiment, and Tom happily finished off the soya smoothie.
After the romanesco cheese debacle, I'd mentioned my concern about the sweetness to Emma at Wild Card PR agency - she replied: 'In answer to your question re. why it is so sweet, all soya milks tend to be sweetened to improve the taste and make more milk like (soya beans aren’t naturally sweet). Some soya milks use fruit juice to sweeten the taste – So Good uses sucrose and vanilla flavouring. So Good held extensive consumer research to investigate the taste preferences of both soya and non soya milk drinkers. They found that the new recipe was most popular with both sets of consumer groups and was more highly favoured compared to the old recipe and its biggest competitor for creaminess, smoothness, thickness and taste.' Hmmm - maybe many of today's consumers have grown up with much more processed and therefore sweetened food than when I was a lass.
Yesterday, I spent a lovely day in the Bucks countryside with J, scrumping damsons which I cooked down and pureed to go with a fantastic lunch dessert of rice pud and a new find of J's - Tesco's Finest hazelnut yoghurt. Yummylicious. One of the many joys of visiting J is spending time with Daisy, here resting with a monkey...
...and Freida, caught here on patrol, trying to find out why J and I were laughing so much at poor Daisy.
The main cooking today has been using up the final good-sized harvest of tomatoes from the allotment and the garden. Q and I are now in digging mode, getting ready to plant onions and garlic, and clearing the ground of bean and tomato plants.
Nigel Slater had a recipe for green and red tomato chutney in last Saturday's Observer, and after much rummaging in the recycling bin I dug it out. Nigel's version is here, but I didn't have quite the weight of tomatoes - about 100g short - so I added some celery. I didn't have enough raisins either, but I discoverd some sticky prunes lurking in a cupboard.
In went the green toms, onions, raisins, prunes, sugar, salt, vinegar and a chilli from the garden. It bubbled away happily for half an hour before I added the red toms.
After a total of an hour's cooking, it looked a little bit liquid and not very jammy. And I don't think I cut the big toms into small enough chunks. Still, the flavour was fantastic, so I decided to pass the mixture through a sieve and come up with a sauce. It tastes lovely: richly sour and sweet and perfect, I reckon, for adding to some porky sausages or a jacket spud on a cold winter's day. Quite an autumnal jarful.
The sky has now turned grey so Mouse has settled into her basket while I type away.

No comments: