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.

How to Preserve Tomatoes for Winter

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

Which one is best though?

Well, they all have their place in our kitchen and work best in different situations, so why not try all of them and decide which one suits your cooking style best?

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.Freezing

Freezing tomatoes is most likely the easiest and least time-consuming way of preserving them for later. So how to properly freeze tomatoes?

  • Carefully wash them in cold water.
  • Let them air dry, ideally by spreading them on a large sheet of kitchen paper or a clean tea towel… you can help them dry quicker by gently patting them all over with some extra kitchen roll.
  • Finally, spread them out on a large baking sheet and simply pop them into your freezer but make sure they are not touching each other.
  • After 12 hours or so, move your tomatoes from the baking sheet and pop into a freezer bag or an airtight container, label and put back to the freezer, ready for depths of winter! Simple.

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

Canning

When you think about tomatoes in jars, the possibilities become endless, various flavours, sauces, ketchups and concentrates, but today we want to focus on the simplest ways of preserving them in jars.

  • Wash, peel and roughly chop your tomatoes.
  • Place them into earlier prepared (cleaned and sterilized) glass jars, filling up to the neck (you need to leave some space, at least 1cm at the top of the jar) and slightly squashing them down in order to get rid of any “dead space” and air bubbles. Secure the lid tightly.
  • Put a kitchen cloth at the bottom of the largest cooking pot you have so the glass jars will not touch saucepan directly, then place the jars into the saucepan and fill with cold water up to ¾ of the height of the jars. Bring it all slowly to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Whilst the jars are cooking find a couple of large bath towels or small blankets and fold one up and place on a shelf or worktop that is safe from knocks or curious kids. It needs to make room for all the jars to sit comfortably on it.
  • When the time is up, remove the jars from the boiling water with some oven gloves, turn upside down, and place on your folded towel. Cover completely with the second thick towel or blanket making sure there are no gaps you want them all snug in there. Allow to rest in this position until completely cool (it might take 24-36h).

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

Drying

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! So how do you sun dry tomatoes?

  • Wash and dry tomatoes.
  • Cut them into your desired size. I personally prefer drying cherry tomatoes and I just 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 risers 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.

 

I hope you enjoyed this short guide to dealing with tomatoes. After drowning in cucumbers for a while, now we have an abundance of tomatoes and aubergines so more recipes and ideas will follow shortly, I am sure!

Freezing, canning or drying – these seem to be the three main ways of preserving your tomatoes for those long cold winter months.

 

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup

I love mushrooms. I think my love for them has its roots in my childhood as every year we would go camping to the woods and one of my favourite activities (in addition to swimming and rolling on a sandy beach by the lake) was mushrooming. Every year we would come home with a car boot filled with dried mushrooms ready for the winter season.

My mum would often cook mushroom soup but it was always based on those dried mushrooms we had picked during the summer. So without even noticing it, it turns out I’ve never had a fresh mushroom soup… until now.

Ingredients for Fresh Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 300g mushrooms
  • 500g potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2l stock, I used a chicken stock from Knorr
  • 1 Knorr Garden Herbs Flavour Pot
  • Salt (optional)
  • Cream (optional)

Method:

Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size.

Place the mushrooms into your cooking pot, add the stock, flavour pot and mix well. I used 2 Knorr stock cubes to make 2 litres of stock (the packaging would advice 4 cubes for this amount of water but I didn’t want my soup to have too strong chicken flavour).

Bring up to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes.

After this time remove any scum (if there is any) and add all remaining ingredients.

Cook for further 40 minutes.

After this time you are ready to serve.

Fresh Mushroom Soup in the making

I actually cooked my soup in a Redmond Multicooker (you can read all about it here). If you have one too the cooking instructions are as follows: Chop the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and carrots into small cubes of your desired size. Place mushrooms into the bowl, add stock, flavour pot and mix well. Close the lid. Press “Menu” button to select “SOUP” program. Use “Hour/Min” and then “Cooking Time” buttons to set the time of 1 hour. Press “Start”. 40 minutes before the program finishes, re¬move the scum, add vegetables and stir well. Cook until the program finishes.

This is a really light and tasty soup. I think it would work pretty well with a veggie stock, but I simply didn’t have any. Depending on the type of stock you are using you might want to check the salt level and maybe add some if needed. For me it wasn’t necessary as the two cubes of chicken stock had more than enough flavour so I could skip adding any additional salt.

What’s Cooking – My Fresh Mushroom SoupWhat’s Cooking - Fresh Mushroom Soup.

The soup can be served “plain” or with added cream (much better in my opinion).

If you decide to add cream I would suggest adding it just before serving to each bowl; this way your remaining soup will last longer in the fridge.

If the lumps are going to be a problem for you, such as if it is for young children then a quick blast with a blender and bingo you have a type of cream of mushroom soup.

What’s Cooking – Fresh Mushroom Soup.What’s Cooking - Fresh Mushroom Soup

Do you like mushroom soup?

If not, why not? what‘s wrong with you?

What’s Cooking – Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Today I would love to share with you a recipe for Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. This recipe comes from “The Superfood Kitchen” cookbook by Parragon Books.

What’s Cooking – Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

What are superfoods you might ask?

Well, superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for your health and well-being.

“The Superfood Kitchen” cookbook is packed full of recipes helping you get the most out of your food. You can pick from breakfast, lunch and snacks, main courses as well as the essential desserts and baking selection. Each one of the 50 recipes included in the book have clear indications of its calories and other nutritional values.

I started my discovery of this cookbook with their Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup recipe. We totally loved this soup and I am confident you will enjoy it as well.

So, let’s get cooking 🙂

This recipe will serve 4. You will need 10 minutes to get things ready plus an additional 35 minutes of cooking time.

Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup - Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers; deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 onion; finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove; finely chopped
  • 300g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp cold water
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock (homemade obviously the preferred option)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Basil (optional)
  • 250g fresh tomatoes; finely chopped (optional)

Method:

Put the oil, water, peppers, garlic and onion in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

If you are using fresh tomatoes this would be the perfect time to add them then cover with a lid and simmer for additional 10 minutes.

If not… Then still just cover with a lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Add tinned tomatoes and stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with fresh basil if you choose to use it.

Optionally you can add the fresh basil into the soup together with the tinned tomatoes and stock; it will change the final taste of the soup (not sure if it will make it better… I would guess the basil taste to be more pronounced, we didn’t cook it this way so I can’t comment with authority).

What’s Cooking - Sweet Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

So, why this soup is so special?

All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C and k, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant vitamin A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer and diseases related to aging and they support the immune function. And best of all one serving is less than 100calories 😉

What are your favourite superfoods?

***
The Superfood Kitchen
ISBN 978-1-4723-6454-8
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2014
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 128
RRP: £8
Paperback; perfect bound

*I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.