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.

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.

Pickled Cucumber Sticks

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

When we started our veggie patch in the spring, with no previous experience whatsoever, we were hoping that eight cucumbers plants will give us enough fruit for everyday use… well, we were wrong… we are drowning in cucumbers…  So far we have collected more than 70kg of them and we are nowhere near the end of the season looking at all the freshly formed flowers popping all over the plants. As there are only so many cucumbers you can eat in a day it was time to get creative and start thinking about jarring them for winter.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

This recipe is similar to my Honey Pickled Cucumber Slices posted earlier but with some key differences. The slices are good for sandwiches or burgers and the like where as these sticks are a better shaped for chopping into salads. The other difference is the absence of any sweet honey but the addition of a cheeky chilli giving a kick to the pickle, it works and it is divine.

The batch below will allow you to make five 0.72l jars (if you pack the cucumbers pretty tight).

Ingredients:

  • ~3.5kg cucumbers
  • 500ml filtered water
  • 500ml 6% vinegar
  • 125g sugar
  • 1.5tbsp salt
  • 5 allspice

Additional per jar:

  • 1 chilli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10 mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.Method:

Fill the cooking pot with water, add vinegar, sugar, salt and allspice and bring it to boil. Make sure everything is dissolved.

Wash your cucumbers, then cut them in half (lengthways). With a spoon carefully remove all seeds, then with a sharp knife cut into sticks around ½-1cm thick and to a length that will match your jar height. Removing all seeds with allow you to pack your cucumbers much tighter into the jars and they will be much crisper once eaten later on.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

Pack the cucumber slices into sterilised jars… remember the tighter the better but don’t overdo it so you end up crushing the pieces.

Once the cucumbers are in, add chilli, garlic, mustard seeds and cloves, finally fill the remaining space with earlier prepared brine and close the lid tightly.

Place your jars into a large cooking pot. Add a kitchen cloth to the bottom, so none of the jars touch the pot directly. Fill with water, covering ¾ of the jar height and boil for 5 minutes. Do not over boil… this will make them softer.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

Somewhere on the worktop make temporary resting den for the jars… they will have to stay there for about 24h. Place a thick towel or two on the worktop, using thick kitchen gloves remove jars from the boiling water, check the lids and put to rest in an upside down position. Once all jars are placed cover with a few more towels or a blanket and let them stay like this until totally cool.

Move to their long term storage place and enjoy as needed.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

Triple Chocolate Almond Brownies

Super rich in flavour, dense yet chewy in the middle, those brownies offer the perfect cross between cookies and a cake.

Purposefully made to not be a sweet as traditional brownies whilst retaining all the wonderful flavours you would expect they offer a more intense experience. The chewy middle encapsulated with a crunchy exterior is complimented with the nuts for that pleasing crunch the mouth adores and all backed up with a small tingle from the coffee buzz… could you ask for more.

Ingredients:

  • 150g dark chocolate; roughly chopped
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 115g butter; cubed
  • 100g almonds; roughly chopped
  • 55g plain flour
  • 50g white chocolate; roughly chopped
  • 30g drinking chocolate
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1tbsp instant coffee
  • 1tbsp filtered hot water
  • 1/2tsp vanilla essence

Super rich in flavour, dense yet chewy in the middle, those brownies offer the perfect cross between cookies and a cake.Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare an 8-inch square tin by lining it with baking paper, unless you, like me, bake in a silicone tray in which case no lining is necessary.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, over a very low heat melt the butter and dark chocolate slowly. Once melted remove from the heat and add the sugar, stir constantly until it is all dissolved.

Put aside the mixture to cool down.

In a small cup mix together the hot water and instant coffee and again set aside to cool; once cold add the vanilla essence.

Beat the eggs with a fork or whisk in a small bowl or cup.

In yet another bowl sift the flour and drinking chocolate together.

Once your dark chocolate has cooled down to around room temperature pour into a mixing bowl and then add the whisked eggs, the coffee and vanilla mixture and stir the mix until combined.

Fold in your flour and drinking chocolate; finally gently fold in the chopped almonds and white chocolate chunks.

Spread the mixture out evenly in your pre-prepared baking tray and bake for 28-30 minutes or until just set in the middle… avoid over baking as over baked brownies will tend to be dry and hard, I like to check on them once my timer hits the 25-minute mark just to keep a close eye on them.

Remove from the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.

Cut into your desired serving portion size and enjoy!

Super rich in flavour, dense yet chewy in the middle, those brownies offer the perfect cross between cookie and a cake.

Flourless Banana and Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure. We all deserve something special from time to time so why not treat our four legged friends to some yummy homemade treats? This recipe, for a change, is totally flourless. I don’t think that flour in small quantities is necessarily bad for our dogs but a few readers have suggested that they would prefer a flourless recipe, so here you have it… banana and peanut butter mixed with oats… quick, easy and actually rather tasty… yes, I do try all baked goods even the ones designed for my dogs.

As I cook / bake for my dogs, which are way above the so-called standard size and on top of that there are two of them, depending on your circumstances you might want to halve the ingredients… just to make sure your pooch doesn’t end up being over fed with treats as you become fearful of the treats going off. The ingredients as stated below will yield 24 6cm round 1cm deep treats, which are perfect for my large / giant breed but might be way too big for a smaller lap dog type of breed, so please adjust ingredient amounts accordingly.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 350g organic oats
  • 200g ripe bananas flesh
  • 200g unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl place the bananas and mash them well with a fork.

Add the peanut butter, eggs, cinnamon and half of the oats and mix well. Slowly add the remaining oats incorporating them with the rest of the ingredients until you achieve a nice pliable mixture, which can be rolled out flat.

Using a rolling pin roll out the mixture until it is approximately 1cm thick. Use a cookie cutter of your desired shape and cut out some cookies.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.Place them on the earlier prepared baking sheet (no spacing necessary as these cookies aren’t going to grow or spread) and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Stored in an airtight container they should be good enough to feed for a week.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.