Homemade Ketchup

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

Be advised though, once tried there is no going back to any shop bought ones.

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

The recipe can be tweaked to suit everyone’s needs. As presented below, it will provide you with a super-rich but mellow flavoured ketchup, which can be enjoyed by all family members. If you fancy something spicier, add more chillies, something sweeter pop a few more apples into your pot… My suggestion, make it once just as stated and then add or reduce to your heart desire to perfect for your taste buds. Have fun!

The recipe will yield around 2.5 liters of yummy ketchup.

Ingredients:

  • 4kg tomatoes; ripe and preferably organic
  • 5 onions; large
  • 3 apples
  • 2 carrots; large
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 entire head of garlic
  • 1 parsnip; small
  • 1 chilli pepper
  • ½ celeriac
  • 3tbsp sunflower oil

Spices:

  • 60ml apple cider vinegar
  • 10tbsp sugar
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 3tsp salt
  • 1tsp black whole peppercorns
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp paprika
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp allspice
  • ½tsp ground ginger

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

Method:

Wash, peel where needed and roughly chop all the ingredients, pop them all into a large stock pot or heavy based saucepan with a solid well-fitting lid, add the oil and bring to a boil. Simmer away for 2-3 hours, stirring well from time to time.

In the meantime prepare all the dry spices by placing them in one bowl and set aside.

Once the time is up, use a hand blender to mix our cooked veggies into one smooth sauce. Add all dry spices and vinegar, return to a gentle boil and cook on a low heat for another hour. Now the bad news, the ketchup will require constant stirring, so don’t leave it alone.

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

Good news the next part is the fun part… you need to pass all your ketchup through a very fine mesh sieve, to get rid of any remaining pieces of skin or whole spices. Add some ketchup into the sieve and using the back of a wooden spoon push it through… if you are doing this for the first time, it will seem like this task is impossible, but trust me, it works you just need to put some muscle into it.

Once all the ketchup has travelled through the sieve mesh, pack it into clean sterilized jars and pasteurise for 15 minutes (stand in a saucepan of water so they are not submerged and bring to the boil slowly). Once finished remove from the water and stand the jar upside down to let them cool. The next day when they are at room temperature then move the jars into your winter storage area (cool, dark and dry).

Enjoy!

A super tasty and easy to make tomato condiment made from scratch, which locks in all those summer flavours for the winter months to come.

How to Prepare Your House for Winter

Winter is undoubtedly one of the best seasons of the year. During wintertime, we get to enjoy the wonders of snow, the never-ending festivities of Christmas and the New Year and the joyful reunion with family and friends. We change our wardrobe, we light up strangely-flavoured and scented candles, we slave away in the kitchen and we decorate our houses with Christmas tree, lights, ornaments and nativity scenes. The list can go on and it is easy to get carried away by all the excitement. But before any of these could happen, it is very important that you have completed all the preparation that you need for your house.

Here are five things that you must do to prepare your house for winter.

  1. Test your Heating System

Your heating system should be the first thing that you check towards the end of fall. You don’t want to freeze in the middle of the winter waiting for your heating system to work. It is highly recommended that you conduct a test run by turning on the thermostat to heat mode and setting it to the desired temperature. If it’s working, you should be able to hear the furnace turn on immediately as the warm air begins to flow. Turn the thermostat back to its original setting do this exercise at least three times in the morning, afternoon and especially at night.

A great addition to your heating system is a solid humidifier for your home. Not only does it help provide warmth, but it also generates much-needed moisture that is necessary to prevent dryness, itchiness and skin irritation.

  1. Inspect the Air Conditioning

Just because you won’t be needing air condition doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it. Before completely turning off and unplugging the air condition, clean the condensing unit of debris and dust first and then make sure that it is well-covered. The air condition can develop rust and collect dirt over the winter time and so it might not be functional come spring.

  1. Prepare the Wood-Burning Fireplace and Chimney

The fireplace is a great source of warm air in the middle of the winter season. Before winter, prepare the fireplace and inspect the chimney if they are clear of any leaves, bird nests, dust and other debris that might have collected over time. Test how the fire burns using a few logs so you can diagnose any problems that might arise.

  1. Check the Insulation of your House

Every corner of your house should be properly insulated. Cold and warm air should be able to come in and out of your house evenly without leaving any leaks. You can insulate your house by applying an insulating blanket to your hot water tank, sealing exterior outlets with a foam gasket and installing a removable cover for your fireplace and chimney.

  1. Examine the Roof, Doors, and Windows

Do not forget about the parts of your house that are exposed to external elements. Examine the roof and its shingles to make sure that ice dams will not ensue and the melted ice will not leak into the interior of the house. Make sure the doors and windows can be opened and closed properly and will not accumulate ice or water.

 

At this moment, we still have rather lovely weather here with temperatures in the low 20s and days full of sun but only a few weeks back a cold snap brought the first snow of the season to the mountains just down the road… so get ready and stay warm as the saying goes, winter is coming!

Raspberry Yogurt Loaf Cake

Simple, yet delicious… light, moist and bursting with raspberry flavour, this loaf cake will make the perfect treat for any fruit cake lover out there.

Simple, yet delicious… light, moist and bursting with raspberry flavour, this loaf cake will make the perfect treat for any fruit cake lover out there.

The idea is rather simple, sweet cake meets juicy, rather sharp tasting raspberries providing a perfect combination of flavours. Intrigued? Give it a try and I truly believe you will not be disappointed.

The recipe is a remake of my super popular Sugar-Free Blueberry Yogurt Cake but this one comes with the full-on sugar version. To turn it sugar-free simply replace 150g of sugar with 50g Natvia or another, if preferred, sugar-free alternative.

Simple, yet delicious… light, moist and bursting with raspberry flavour, this loaf cake will make the perfect treat for any fruit cake lover out there.

Ingredients:

  • 180g flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125g raspberries
  • 100ml raspberry yogurt
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp baking soda

Simple, yet delicious… light, moist and bursting with raspberry flavour, this loaf cake will make the perfect treat for any fruit cake lover out there.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C fan assisted.

Lightly grease or line with a baking paper one 8” loaf tin.

Sift and mix together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at the time and continue mixing.

Add half of your flour mixture and mix until combined, then add the remaining flour mix and the yogurt and mix by folding in until the mixture has an even texture. You are aiming for a rather thick batter like consistency.

Finally, add the raspberries and fold them gently into your batter until evenly spread.

Pour the mixture into the earlier prepared loaf tin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50min or until golden brown and it passes the dry toothpick test.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for around 10-15 minutes, then remove from baking tin and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Serve and enjoy!

Simple, yet delicious… light, moist and bursting with raspberry flavour, this loaf cake will make the perfect treat for any fruit cake lover out there.

Simple, yet delicious… light, moist and bursting with raspberry flavour, this loaf cake will make the perfect treat for any fruit cake lover out there.

How To Make White Bathroom Pop

White bathrooms are one of my favourites, crisp, sleek and clean… When designed with different textures that are complementing each other then they are anything but boring! The perfect canvas to accessorise to your heart’s desire and put your mark on, but how do you make them pop. The easiest way to make a white bathroom pop is to simply add just a splash of colour, simple!

Currently, I am trying to design a final look for our downstairs wet room. At this moment the bathroom tiles are in shades of brown but they will get pained pure white… The tiles themselves are in perfect condition, their size suits the room well and they are laid perfectly, so it would be a shame to replace them… they will simply get painted over.

In addition to tiles, my bathroom consist of a lowered ceiling with LED lighting (they will stay as they are), large frameless mirror (again it will stay), a loo and finally the sink that is set into a base cabinet (this two really do need replacing)… that’s it… It’s a wet room so it is pretty basic. I don’t really want to put any additional furniture into it. The only move I have in trying to make my bathroom pop is a base cabinet as this will be the feature point in the wet room.

I picked some units which I like. They all “speak” to me and I can honestly see myself just randomly picking one and being happy with my choice but they are all different and each unit will define the final feel of my room…

This is my favourite piece and my first choice – True Oak Substructure Ossature. I am not sure why but there is something about it which feels just right. Maybe it’s the fact that it is oak and it will match a lot of other furniture’s we have in the house or maybe because it looks so warm and cosy. I truly don’t know why I love it so much.

It looks like the True Oak collection is no longer for sale at Villeroy and Boch main website but I’ve found this beautiful piece still for sale at a greatly reduced price at Super Bath store.

I am sure with a piece like this I could easily leave the rest of the wet room white and it will still look stunning.

Subway 2.0 Base Cabinet. Totally different design but extremely pleasing to my eye. This will make any bathroom much more stylish and modern looking. I really like its clean lines and defined colour. Again, having a piece like this would allow me to leave everything else white.

My third choice – Aveo New Generation Base Cabinet – is yet again different to my two previous ones. It’s totally white, which will give me white on white design. I find it a bit of a crossover between the other two. It’s modern, but not as modern as the Subway… at the same time, its curved lines and rounded sink make it feel cosy, friendly and much more accessible, bringing it closer to the True Oak design. If we go for this one, I will try to add a colour accent in the form of some colourful soap dispenser or maybe a flower pot or two placed on the window sill.

 

I really feel quite confused. All three look totally fantastic in my opinion but I can only pick one.

I would love to know what you think.

Which one is your favourite?

* This is a collaborative post.
** Picture credit: 1|2|3|4

Watermelon and Orange Cooler

Refreshing, tasty and full of goodness, this watermelon and orange smoothie will quench even the biggest thirst.

Refreshing, tasty and full of goodness, this watermelon and orange smoothie will quench even the biggest thirst.

I personally love watermelon but Mark isn’t a big lover of it… too watery, too sweet and don’t even get him started on all the pips… yet once turned into this delicious drink, he simply can’t seem to stop refilling his glass.

The idea for this drink isn’t mine. A good friend of ours told us how they would drink it all the time during the long, very hot summer months back in Turkey. They were swearing by it and its almost magical properties, so finally one day we decided to give it a try too… I am really happy we did as we can finally turn a watermelon into something we both really enjoy.

Refreshing, tasty and full of goodness, this watermelon and orange smoothie will quench even the biggest thirst.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg ripe watermelon
  • 250ml orange juice*
  • 1 lemon
  • 1tsp raw honey
  • Ice-cubes to serve

*ideally we would use freshly squeezed orange juice but alas the watermelon season doesn’t match up with the orange season and as getting out of season fruit and veggies here isn’t so easy we are using organic pure orange juice from the carton… no other realistic options.

Refreshing, tasty and full of goodness, this watermelon and orange smoothie will quench even the biggest thirst.

Method:

Peel, cube, and deseed watermelon, then pop into a high-speed blender.

Juice the lemon and add into your melon cubes.

Add the orange juice and honey.

Depending on the temperature of your ingredients, you might want to add some ice-cubes to make the drink a little cooler from the start.

Turn the blender on and blend for a minute or two on high speed.

Serve over ice with a nice straw (little paper brolly optional) and enjoy the cooling experience!

Ideally, it should be drunk as soon as blended but it will keep in the fridge for a day or two if you end up making a bigger batch… just don’t forget to give it a good stir before serving as it will tend to separate a bit.

Refreshing, tasty and full of goodness, this watermelon and orange smoothie will quench even the biggest thirst.

Do you like watermelon?

What’s your favourite way of serving it?

Refreshing, tasty and full of goodness, this watermelon and orange smoothie will quench even the biggest thirst.