Returning from a gloriously sunny Turkish holiday is a timely reminder that we, the British consumer, are missing out on "real" vegetables. There, tomatoes are loaded with taste and serve as a reminder of the blandness of many of our own supermarket offerings.
Tell us Mr Supermarket, why is your veg (and fruit) so poor? Where has all the flavour gone? Why do pears take five days to become edible? Comic genius Eddie Izzard was so incensed by the ability of inedible pears to become slimy and rotten overnight, he was convinced that they "ganged up" on him the moment he was out of the room... the Conspiracy of Pears?
Are we trading supermarket shelf-life for our flavour, or is it simply down to profit. Maybe the veg buyer is on a backhander from a holiday company? Or maybe he genuinely has no tastebuds to speak of. More sinister still, has he been genetically engineered himself to be bland and buy bland produce?
Of course, we understand the visual appeal of cosmetically fab food but we don't want to trade this at the expense of our flavour. Neither do we want to be hoodwinked by the red herring of the organic veg brigade, because their produce does not necessarily taste any better.
Ultimately, it's all down to variety or variant of species. It would appear that the bureaucratic men and women in Brussels have told us what they can and can't grow - and they follow like sheep (not even free-range sheep). Recently, the EC Food Police have been trying to remove unpasteurized- milk cheeses from our shelves. Is this right? Is this fair? Just say No!
This may sound like tough talk but we can't control our tongues; after all, they are attached to our tastebuds and they are the little guys giving us the grief.
And if the chilli goes the way of the tomato we're stuffed.
Here's a good method for concentrating an intense flavour into shop- bought tomatoes from our cookbook Entertaining (Macmillan). Use them in salads and pastas etc...
Cut (washed) tomatoes along the centre (north to south). Arrange cut side up, on a wire cake rack (not straight on to a baking tray as they will tend to burn).
Brush with olive oil and sea salt and roast in a very, very low oven (50C/125F/the lowest possible gas) overnight until they look dried out. (For an Aga-type oven, the plate-warming cupboard is best). Slow and even is the way. They can then be preserved in a Kilner jar of good olive oil.
The Nosh Brothers appear regularly on Carlton Food Network
This week's highlights on CFN:
Chef on a Shoestring (today 2pm) Brian Turner with tasty food on a budget
Food for Thought (Mon 6 Oct 1pm) Sarah Greene hosts the UK's first ever talkshow devoted to food.
Aldo's Italian Job (Tue 7 Oct 1.30pm) Italian chef Aldo Zilli explores the food and lifestyles of the capital's Italian community
Food Network Daily (Wed 8 Oct 2.30pm) Host Su Porter meets chef Ross Burden, who has joined the campaign to "Get Britain Baking".Reuse content