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.

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.

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.

Benefits of Beets

* By Susan Conley, creator of cookthestone.com 

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets won’t exactly be the first thing that comes to your mind when asked about favorite vegetables. This root vegetable may not be as well-known as carrot or squash, but only a few veggies can match up with its nutritional value.

Health benefits of beets

  1. Control blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease like stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks. Heart disease also happens to be one of the top causes of death today.

Eating beets can improve your blood pressure. Experts say this is due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets, which our bodies convert to the compound nitric oxide that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels. When this happens, the blood vessels promote improved blood circulation and consequently lower blood pressure.

There have been numerous studies backing up this claim. Some studies have also indicated that beets can lower blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg a few hours after consumption. The positive effect on blood pressure is stronger when raw beets are eaten.

  1. Improve digestion

Like most vegetables, beets are rich in dietary fiber which has been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved digestion.

Did you know that a cup of beetroot already has 3.4 grams of fiber? That’s about 20 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber!

Fiber can promote digestive health by bypassing digestion and heading straight to the colon, where it can add bulk to stool or feed gut-friendly bacteria. By getting more fiber out of your foods, you can regularly eliminate waste and lower your risks of digestive problems like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.

Plus, fiber can also lower your risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

  1. Enhance your stamina

While eating beets won’t really make you into a world-class athlete, regular consumption of this root vegetable can improve your stamina and enhance your athletic performance.

This wonderful benefit of beets is believed to come from the high nitrate contents of beets. Nitrates have been associated with enhanced efficiency of mitochondria which produces energy in the cells. Numerous studies have also backed up these claims, and many elite athletes are known to incorporate beets into their diets.

One study conducted and published in 2009 showed that cyclists who drank beet juice were able to pedal up to 15 percent longer. The author of the said study says eating 3-5 beets at least two hours before an event can give an individual a boost in performance.

  1. Enhance your brain’s performance

Eating beets can make your brain work better. I suggest you eat beets before taking an exam as it could enhance cognitive function.

Again, the nitrates found in beets are responsible for this wonderful benefit. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, nitrates can promote increased blood flow to the brain which could lead to improved brain function.

This effect is particularly critical for senior adults because studies have shown that the body’s capacity to generate nitric oxide decreases with age.

In one study conducted in 2010, 14 participants with an average age of 74 were asked to eat a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice. They were then observed to have increased focus and attention to detail for two days afterward.

  1. Lose weight

Beets are low in calories and high in water which makes them a good food to incorporate into your weight loss diet.

But what’s intriguing is that beets also have protein and fiber despite their low-calorie content. Protein and fiber are two essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy weight.

You will also be able to lose weight when you eat more beets because the vegetable can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce your appetite.

  1. Lower your risks of cancer and other diseases

Beets contain the potent antioxidants called betalains which can lower your risks of chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. It also has betacyanin which can protect the body against carcinogens. Betacyanin is the pigment responsible for the purple hue of beets.

Conclusion

With the many health benefits of beets, we should be eating more beets as a good way to incorporate a vegetable into your diet.

There are many ways to enjoy beets. You can juice or steam it. You can also roast or pickle it. But I would suggest avoiding the boiling beets to preserve the nitrates which are water soluble. Or simply let your home blender do all the work, then you will have a perfect drink for good health after few minutes.

Besides those ideas above, there are many excellent ways to prepare beets that you can use in your daily life.

Let me know what you usually do with beets in the comment section below.

Happy cooking!

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet./>

Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.

A few weeks back I published “How to preserve tomatoes for winter”. In that post, I talked about the drying process itself… in case you missed it, here it is again…

How to Preserve Tomatoes for Winter

The drying process can be achieved by air drying, oven drying, dehydrating and my favourite sun drying! There is nothing better than the taste of sun dried tomatoes during the winter!

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.

So how do you sun dry tomatoes?

  • Wash and dry the tomatoes.
  • Cut them into your desired size. I personally prefer drying cherry tomatoes and I simply cut them in half.
  • Place them on a metal baking tray, skin side down, then cover with some cheesecloth, muslin or some sort of fly net… if needed you might want to construct some raisers so the cloth doesn’t rest on your fruit directly.
  • Place in the full sun and watch them shrink!

Here, in temperatures around 30C, my tomatoes are ready within 3 days.

So now, when you have a pile of lovely sun dried tomatoes let’s then turn them into jarred goodness which will last us all winter and beyond.

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.

Ingredients:

  • Pile of sun dried tomatoes
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Good quality olive oil

As you might notice there are no amounts, well… amounts will depend on a number of tomatoes you have dried and the size of your jars. I would recommend small jars, no bigger than 0.2l and 1 large clove of garlic and 10 basil leaves per jar… the amount of oil will depend on your “packing skills”

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.

Method:

Wash and sterilised all the jars you will use.

Wash the basil leaves and allow them to air dry.

Peel the garlic and slice each clove into smaller pieces.

Now, it’s all about layering them in the jars – tomatoes, basil leaves, a small piece of garlic and repeat until your jar is almost full. Do not overfill! Ideally, pack to the shoulder of the jar.

Finally slowly, really slowly pour the olive oil and watch the jar being filled to the rim. Stop when all tomatoes are submerged.

Screw the lid on really tight and you are done!

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.

Now, when it comes to storage there are quite a few theories about it – cool, dark place seems to be the place to put them but just to be on the safe side I would suggest the fridge. Yes, keep your jars in the fridge… after all, they are small and really will not take up so much room.

Your tomatoes will be ready for consumption after a month… but the longer you leave them the better the taste.

With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.
With a super intense tomato flavour and just a hint of basil and garlic, these sun dried tomatoes are the perfect addition to bring back summertime memories during those long cold winter days.