Today is National Garlic Day. I get all gooey and nostalgic. I think of garlic and remember long hot summers spent at my grandparents tucked away in deepest rural France.
I’d walk with Mamie to do the morning shopping, dragging a wicker shopping trolley behind me. First stop the Patisserie to buy a couple of freshly baked baguettes. Then off to market to choose the plumpest, sweet smelling, dark red beef tomatoes.
A quick march back and out would come the red and white wine vinegars, the virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, some garlic, a sprinkling of salt and coarse ground black pepper and voila! Garlic tomatoes to die for. I could munch my way through a whole french stick mopping up the vinaigrette, pips and garlic. I adore garlic. Or, I adored garlic. That was the pre-IBS me.
Nowadays I might as well be from Transylvania because feed me the flesh of garlic and stand well back. I’m morphed into a human ‘nutribullet’ of the darkest kind, liquidising the entire contents of my gut to eject an explosive mix of delights that a Hogwart student would be proud of. I’ll leave that thought there…
So just how did I discover my garlic intolerance? That garlic was my fiend and not my friend? I was recommended to see a registered dietician to try the low FODMAP diet, which has a 75% success rate at reducing IBS symptoms. With her advice, and by a process of elimination and then reintroduction, I worked out a personalised self management programme to manage my IBS symptoms. And yes, garlic is most certainly one of my main triggers along with other food intolerances including onion and gluten. I can still rub a cut clove around an empty salad dish to add flavour to salad leaves as they’re tossed. Or cook occasionally with garlic infused oil. But although nice, it’s just not the same.
So whilst we all celebrate the humble garlic in all its glory, please spare a thought for me hugging my tummy whilst I mourn the memories of a delicious dish of summers past.
Mamie’s Garlic Tomatoes
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large beef tomatoes ( the riper the better)
1 crusty baguette
Peel and finely chop the garlic clove and add to a bowl. Mix in with the red and white wine vinegar. Next, add the oil and the mustard. Whisk with a fork until blended together. Add the salt and pepper.
Wash the tomatoes and finely slice, gently layering into a dish. Pour over the vinaigrette and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Grab a fork, tear off a piece of baguette, dip in the vinaigrette and enjoy.