Category: Methods

How to peel tomatoes

Source & History

This is another of those blogs with no actual recipe. Rhoda insists that whenever she uses tomatoes, particularly if they are for pickles or relishes, they must be peeled. So here is how to peel tomatoes, the easy way.

  1. put some water in a pot and heat it until it is just boiling
  2. cut a small cross into one end of the tomato.
  3. drop your tomatoes (1 or 2 at time)  into the pot and leave them there for about 10 seconds.
  4. remove the tomatoes from the water and either drop them into some ice water to stop the cooking process, then peel them or just peel them without the ice water. Start where you cut the cross & the peel should just come right off.

See below for a visual demonstration:


  • this method will not work for green tomatoes, just peel them with a peeler or small knife like you would potatoes or carrots. 

How to Make Gravy

Source & History

It occurred to me the other night when I was making gravy to go with the roast that I had never written down how to make gravy. Every time I ‘say’ that, the Paul Kelly song comes to mind. I make gravy the same way that my mother did, more or less. There are always adjustments in any recipe based on personal preferences and availability of ingredients.

My mother always used to use the water from boiling the vegetables in her gravy. I don’t boil vegetables, except for potatoes occasionally. I steam in the microwave. She also, like Jamie Oliver in his 15 or 30 minute mindset, used to use boiling water from the kettle if there wasn’t enough water from the vegies.

The basic methodology is the same as that used in a Basic White Sauce except that you use water or stock instead of milk. I make the gravy on the stove-top though, unlike the white suce which I usually make in the microwave.


  •  I pour the liquid from the roasting pan into a measuring cup (4 cup) and top up with stock or water and/or wine to make 4 cups (because I like to have about 4 cups of gravy).
  • I used to make the gravy in the roasting pan (like my mother did) while the meat rested, but lately I have been using a small sauce pan instead.
  • I skim off as much of the fat as I can and sometimes I use it instead of (or in addition to) the margarine to make the gravy
  • I use chicken stock for chicken or pork and beef stock for beef. You could also use vegetable stock if you wanted to.
  • You can also stir in other spices or chutneys to make the gravy more interesting. I like to add a couple of tablespoons of Rhoda’s mango chutney or apple sauce to gravy for pork. The gravy for sausages and rissoles usually has some tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in it (and, yes, that’s my hand making gravy for the rissoles we had the other night).



  • the amount of stock powder I include depends a lot on the tasting result in step 2. I use the Massel powdered stocks because I like their flavour.