When summer arrives the best thing to do is take eating outdoors, and fire up the barbecue. Of course you just have to have all manner of marinades and sauces to pack in the flavour and ketchup is probably the priority for burgers and hotdogs. I’ve got my own tomato plant growing nicely but for this batch I visited Birmingham Markets and picked up a huge bag of sweet cherry tomatoes, amongst other things.
You will need:
- Tomatoes – lots of them, about a kilogram
- Cooking apples – two
- Red onion – one
- Garlic – 2/3 cloves
- Celery – a stick
- Extra virgin Olive oil – splash
- Red wine vinegar – about 200ml
- Brown sugar 50-70g (to taste)
- Bay leaf
- Fresh Basil
- Pickling spices
- Water (amount varies)
The first thing to do is to pop red onion in a sauce pan on a low heat and leave to cook over a low heat, before adding the garlic, apple, celery and tomato and seasoning with salt and pepper. Letting everything smush down but not burning.
In the meantime prepare your pickling spices. You can buy this ready made, or come up with your own blend to create your specific flavours. I added cloves, cinnamon sticks, all spice , peppercorns, star anise, bay leaves, coriander seeds and chilli to a small saucepan with the red wine vinegar and let this bubble away for a little while for the flavours to infuse before straining it through a Muslin cloth. I had no mustard seeds so added whole grain mustard to my tomato pan instead.
Adding the infused vinegar to the tomato pan with a bay leaf and squishing the tomatoes down with my spoon was quite satisfying. Keep the mixture on a low heat for about an hour with no lid stirring occasionally before removing the bay leaf and going in with a stick blender. To create your sauce. At this stage if the consistency is too thick add a little water or if it’s too thin and runny then put it back on the hob to reduce down.
Taste as you go to add seasoning and adjust the flavours if you think it needs anything extra – more sugar etc. I chose to strain my ketchup through a sieve, rubbing it through with the back of a ladle to remove the seeds and any skin residue which makes for a smoother sauce. Then I used a funnel to pour it in to my sterilised bottles and storing in the fridge.
If stored correctly this can last for months, however if you’re anything like us then a bottle or two will not last long.