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 – 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.

What’s Cooking – Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

I love tomatoes, especially the home grow kind – fresh, sweet, full of aroma… There are so many dishes they can be used for and Fresh Tomato Soup is one of the meals I enjoy the most.

There is however a huge difference between home grown tomatoes and the ones you can buy in a supermarket. If you want to make a truly tasty tomato soup you simply can’t buy the cheap range ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to suggest that value or so called salad tomatoes aren’t good for anything, but they aren’t for sure good enough for a tomato soup. In order to get the flavours you need to splash on a higher end of veggie section, or even better hunt your local farmer down (yes, I know this might not be so easy at this time of the year… My apologies, it took my ages to get around to actually writing this recipe down and the tomato season is over).

So, let’s start with the ingredients:

  • 500g of chicken – we used chicken thighs, which are actually perfect for the soup
  • 300g of smoked pork belly
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 large leek
  • ½ large celery; the root end (so called ugly part), not the nice stalks
  • 1kg of ripe, good quality tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • Good handful of chopped basil
  • 1tbs of pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100g of wild rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying

Method:

Wash and peel all root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, celery and leeks – place them into a large cooking pot, add chicken, pork belly and a pinch of salt, pepper corns and bay leaves then fill with water about 2-3cm lower than a rim of the pot.

2. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fire-up the cooker and let it cook for at least a couple of hours.

In a second pot start cooking your rice. The rice doesn’t have to be hot when your soup is served so it can be cooked well in advance. Make sure that your rice isn’t overcooked in fact it is better slightly undercooked. You really don’t want to have sticky rice in your soup. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of salt to your water.

Now would be a good time to start working on our tomatoes. Wash them well and place in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water and pour hot water over your tomatoes and let stand for 30sec or so, this will allow you to remove the skins without any problems. Skin the tomatoes and chop into 1cm cubes.

3. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Chop the onion and prepare a good handful of fresh basil.

Take a large frying pan; add a bit of olive oil and start with frying your onions. Fry them until soft but still light in colour (don’t let them change the colour). Add the tomatoes and basil and fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes.

4. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Once done, pop all of the mixture into your soup. Let it all boil again and cook for further 30 minutes.

Now is a messy part. We have to remove all the meat from our soup and all other large chunks. You can use a sieve to do it or just use spoon with holes and fish out all the necessary ingredients.

Put the pork belly aside for the moment.

De-skin, peel and chop your chicken meat.

Cut all the root vegetables you want back in your soup into smaller chunks. (You can chop the veggies up at the start of the cook but I use big size veggies as sometimes I have to discard some of them like the celery in order for family members to actually try the soup, and I don’t want to lose any of the flavours by missing them out completely).

5. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Pop your veggies and chicken back to the pot and use a food blender to turn your soup into a cream.

Add fresh ground pepper and stir well.

Chop your pork belly up into small bite sized cubes.

My Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild RiceFresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.

Serve the soup in a bowl with the small pork belly chunks and a spoonful of the earlier cooked rice.

Enjoy!

my Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits, Basil  and Wild Rice

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