“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” (A.A. Milne)
It´s not a real summer without tomatoes. Firm and sweet and sun kissed tomatoes. All year long, I cherish the time when they´re ripened to perfection, and right now, not a day goes by without them on our table. When we go shopping, my kids – they have a crush on tomatoes, just like me – will always make sure I don´t forget to buy some, just in case: the big red ones for sauces and being stuffed, the small ones for grignoter (as a snack), the yellow, black and green ones… well, because they´re yellow, black and green, if you ask my kids. Each variety may have their horticultural story to tell, but kids, my kids at least, are just fascinated with tomatoes that aren´t red, I guess (at least I keep telling myself that to explain why they have plucked the unripe ones from the poor plants in the garden – all four of them).
Back home, we sometimes like to line up our purchases to start a little tomato tasting, which usually ends up being a contest in search for the perfect pomme d´amour , the perfect love apple (doesn´t that sound good). It´s a stitch-up though: I do have an hunch the jury is biased, for sweet, small & fruity always takes first place – so sorry, green ones!
At the moment, nothing compares to the tiny plum shaped tomates allongées, so sugar sweet and tasty, like an edible dose of sunshine. We love to snack one here and one there while I´m cooking, and gone is a whole pound of them almost every day before dinner. They also gave the idea for this summery roast that has quickly become a favorite: tender veal with black olives, pancetta, garlic, thyme, onions and tomatoes – all the right summer flavors in one big cocotte.
But it´s not a real summer without ice cream either. I began making this recipe during our summer vacation, and not having my ice cream maker on hand, I wanted something easy to whip up and wait for us to come home, craving a sweet delight. The warm flavors of
hunny honey and cinnamon make for exactly the kind of ice cream I like, even more so when paired with strawberries. For this ice cream, all it takes is ten minutes to whisk the eggs and a few hours of patience while it freezes… which is the right moment to think of our friend Winnie the Pooh again and get ready to indulge.
Summer veal roast with olives & tomatoes (serves 4):
1000-1200 g veal shoulder, rolled or with bone
1 yellow onion, diced
50 g pancetta, diced
3 or 4 small carrots, diced
20 small plum (or cherry) tomatoes
15-20 black olives, pitted and halved
2 garlic cloves with the skin
a bouquet garni (bay leaf, a few sprigs thyme and parsley)
1/2 tsp dried thyme, optional
salt, pepper, and a dash of piment d´Espelette or ground chili
250 ml rosé or white wine
100 ml veal or vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil
Take meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven 170°C/340°F.
Tie the herbs together to make a little bouquet garni (if you don´t have kitchen twine, tie herbs together with a stalk of parsley).
In a cast iron cocotte, melt/heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and fry onion until translucent and soft, but not browned. Add pancetta and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
Season the meat lightly with salt (keeping in mind that pancetta and olives are salty, too).
Add veal to the cocotte and brown from all sides. Add carrots and herbs and pour the wine and stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes, add olives and tomatoes. Season with pepper, piment d´Espelette/chili if using and again a little salt, if needed.
Transfer in the preheated oven (170°C/340 °F) and cook for about 80 minutes, until the meat is tender and cooked through.
honey and cinnamon ice cream (no ice cream maker, no churning needed)
2 fresh eggs + 2 egg yolks
50 g sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
60 g runny honey (like sunflower, acacia, orange blossom)
250 ml full fat cream
Using electric whisks, beat the eggs and sugar over a double boiler for 7 -10 minutes, until very frothy and pale /bright yellow. Remove from the double boiler and continue to whisk for another 3 minutes, until the mixture is at room temperature again. At low speed, stir in the cinnamon, honey, and cream.
alternatively, with a slightly less creamy result: Using a powerful kitchen machine, beat eggs and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes. At low speed, add remaining ingredients as described above.
In an airtight container, freeze for 3-4 hours, until firm, yet creamy. For a bigger appetite, you might double the volumes and count about 6 hours for freezing.