The spring is undoubtedly coming soon, but it will still be a while until seasonal vegetables and fruits are available. The season which is stretching out ahead of us now, in Polish is called przedwiośnie (which literally means pre-spring) can push our patience to the limit. March and April, the two most wayward and moody months in the year are the heros of many proverbs and folk sayings in Poland and other countries at the similar latitude.
W marcu jak w garncu. (March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.).
Kwiecień-plecień, bo przeplata, trochę zimy, trochę lata. (April weather, rain and sunshine both together).
And so on. If you live anywhere within the temperate climate, brace yourself for the long and rather not straightforward wait for the spring to come: one sunny and warm day does not necessarily mean that the following day will be the same. More often than not, the next day brings frost, or at least rain.
What to do to make the long wait for the spring burst of colours easier? One way is to enrich our everyday diet: eat the rainbow! Sure, it is much more difficult to find colourful foods in the winter time, but it’s not impossible. Reach out for all sorts of fermented or otherwise preserved foods: they are true gold mines, packed with valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
I am lucky enough to have been ‘supplied’ by my mum with her homemade preserves, made with her homegrown vegetables. How lucky am I? I won’t let any of these precious foods go to waste! As my mum’s tomato harvest last summer was super abundant, it resulted in an enormous amount of homemade tomato passata, sud-dried tomatoes, homemade ketchup and tomato concentrate.
To be honest, I am not a big eater of dried tomatoes, the reason for which would be their price (if you want them organic, that is). I wouldn’t have known what to do with my mum’s generous gift, if it wasn’t for the fact that around New Year’s I visited my friends Ewa&Marcin, who introduced me and Żubrek to the dried tomato and sunflower seed spread. Greedily and shamelessly, we ended up eating the entire jar of their spread (to much of their amusement), especially that they bought a super delicious sourdough bread from the local bakery in Gorlice to go with it.
No wonder, that one of the first things I embarked on doing once back home (richer in two little jars of my mum’s homegrown, homemade dried tomatoes in olive oil), was making this exact paste. I made sure I would have the perfect bread to go with it, too. Purchased in a local Polish shop, organic rye and oat wholemeal bread was my choice. Oh joy! Not only is this paste healthy, but it’s also super tasty. And vegan, too!
SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND SUNFLOWER SEED SPREAD
1 jar of dried tomatoes in oil
2 garlic cloves
two handfuls of sunflower seeds
freshly ground pepper
a bit of oil from the jar with tomatoes
1-2tbsp tomato concentrate
dried chilli flakes (optional)
How to make?
1. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the oil. Add the drained tomatoes to a blender, together with sunflower seeds, garlic cloves and some of the reserved oil (about 1tbsp). Add some tomato concentrate (or passata). Blend everything together.
2. If the mixture is too firm, add a bit more of tomato concentrate or passata. If it’s too runny, add some more sunflower seeds. Blend again.
3. Taste and season your spread. Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes (if using). Blend again quickly. All done!
4. Move the ready spread into an airtight container (the smell of garlic is quite strong and it can easily overpower other smells in your fridge) and place in the fridge. Tastes best a few hours after making, as the time allows the flavours to mix properly. Enjoy!