Friday, 8 November 2013

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

A few weeks ago I had a flare up of the problem with my back, I went to the doctors and she told me to keep moving and not sit down for too long. So to make myself get up, bearing in mind that this was exceedingly painful, I made sauces! Trust me to make an injury into a cooking project. I'm going to post the recipes I made over those four days over the next few weeks as posts of sauce after sauce might get a bit monotonous. I had a glut of tomatoes, many of which were slowly going soft in a bowl and so the first sauce I made was a tomato ketchup. It's from the River Cottage Meat book and although it doesn't taste anything like my normal Heinz stuff, it's really gorgeous and tomatoey. It's goes really well with steak and chips!

Homemade Tomato Ketchup (from River Cottage Meat - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
(Makes 1.5l approx)

3kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 onions, sliced
1 large red pepper, seeds and membrane removed, chopped
100g soft brown sugar
200ml cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
A piece of cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tsp whole allspice
1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground mace
1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
paprika or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Put the tomatoes, onions and red pepper in a large, heavy pan and simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Push through a sieve and return to the pot with the sugar, vinegar and mustard. Tie the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mace, celery seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic in a square of muslin and drop it into the stew.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cook, allowing the mixture to bubble gently, stirring often and carefully, for 20- 40 minutes. The time taken will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are but in any case continue to cook until it is thick and pulpy. Taste a couple of times while it is cooking and remove the spice bag if the flavour becomes too strong.

Season to taste with salt and paprika or cayenne, if using, then leave to cool. Pour the ketchup through a funnel into suitable bottles and seal. Stored in the fridge, this ketchup will keep for a month. If you bottle it in sterilised jars while still warm, it should keep for a year.

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