Tuesday, February 1

Tomato sauce, yes please.........

Before I start my ramble, I just want to say how touched I was by your kind comments after the loss of my Dad, what a lovely bunch you are, I was very moved, thanks so much:)

Now on with the show.....

When life throws you lemons apparently you should make lemonade. Life is throwing me tomatoes, so the obvious solution? Good old fashioned tomato sauce. By sauce I mean ketchup style, as opposed to something you might put onto spaghetti or pizza. I don't know why I suddenly have a craving to make this, I never have before, and Mum certainly raised a wry smile when I asked for some of her massive tomato crop.

Mum made her own tomato sauce when we were growing up. Dad always seem to think we were on the cusp of a world shortage, and grew Beefsteak like it was the last vege on earth. Waste was just not acceptable, so like most woman of her generation she preserved, bottled and stored the excess. Except for beans, they were just force feed to five children until we begged for clemency.........I think she finds it funny that what was done then out of necessity is suddenly so cool.
Old malt vinegar bottles (they were glass back then) filled to the brim with red lined the kitchen shelves, next to bottled golden queen peaches and christmas plums. I would come home whining from my friends house's complaining about having to have homemade, I wanted bought sauce, Watties if you please....or even Heinz at a push.
It was yet another indignity to be borne, along with getting dropped off at school in the huge old blue Falcon (my younger sister has cerebral palsy so could not walk, we would both beg Mum to park around the corner pleeeeeese!) and having to check Dad's Western books out of the library when I picked up my Moosewood cookbook and Sweet Valley Highs......oh the shame) It's amazing I'm fairly normal.......

This recipe comes courtesy of Sally Cameron, from NZ Gardener Homegrown series, the Tomato edition. It uses plenty of tomatoes, and isnt to difficult to make.....

Sally's Tomato Sauce

3 kg firm ripe tomatoes (I used a mix of cherry, Black Krim, Roma and Beefsteak)
2 onions, peeled
5 medium apples
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 tbsp salt
750 gr brown sugar
Pinch cayenne
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
2.5 cm fresh ginger root, peeled
1 tsp black peppercorns

Roughly chop the tomatoes, apples and onions and place in a large pot. I didn't bother peeling the apples. Bring to the boil and simmer for approx 30 minutes until the fruit is soft and pulpy. The original recipe say to push the mix through a sieve, but I used Mum's mouli, which was really easy and produced a great result. It is also what she used, and I thought you might like to admire that fab orange, yeoww!

Return the mixture to the saucepan and add the vinegar, salt, sugar, cayenne and lemon juice. Tie the peppercorns, cloves and allspice in a piece of muslin (or a clean hankie if you don't have muslin) and throw into the pot also. Stir gently while everything comes to the boil, then leave to simmer gently for about 1 1/4 hours.

I suspect I could have left mine a bit longer to make a slightly thicker sauce but it will depend on how much liquid was in your fruit. It will still taste amazing so don't stress. Take your bag/hankie out and pour into sterilised bottles or jars. I run mine through the dishwasher, but you can also let them sit for 10 minutes in a 110C oven. Either way make sure they are warm before you add the hot sauce or there will be tears and shards of glass from A to B........

This makes enough to fill ten 350 ml bottles, which is quite a lot of fish and chips. Give a bottle to someone who has never had the real thing, it is quite a difference. If they are a child don't be surprised if they give it back, kids can be ingrates........


  1. That sounds delish! Hope you are doing OK & I insist I take you out for a vino soon! Mx

  2. I'm so sorry about your dad, I love what you said about liking him, so beautiful, now I gotta get me one of those retro mouli's !!

  3. I got the preserving bug in summer 2009, when I started making produce to sell at a one-off market stall I hosted in Covent Garden...

    I turned to my mum for help. She has been making jams, pickles, chutneys and ketchups since I was small.

    The tomato ketchup went down particularly well, which pleases me a lot because the recipe mum uses (and I know use too) is my maternal grandfather's recipe. He died when I was very young indeed, so it's nice to have something to connect me to him even now.

    I have used the same recipe to make green tomato ketchup, adding a little more sugar than to the red, to balance the tartness of the unripe tomatoes. It's worked really, really well too!

  4. I love the presentation! Makes me want to ditch the All Gold (the South Africa tomato sauce staple) and get busy making my own!

  5. It looks great in those cute bottles and what a cool Mouli your Mum has! i haven't preserved anything this season, I seem to be eating everything...eek

  6. Ah, I miss a mouli! should get one!

    I look forward to meeting you soon :-)


  7. Looks amazing! I wish I were not so lazy, as I'm sure it beats store bought, but I'll never know the difference...did I mention, I'm lazy? Drat...it's a curse!

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone, love a vino Mairi, we are overdue!
    Thanks Pod, and yes, everyone should have a mouli, brown would be even better than orange.......
    Kavey, would LOVE to see that recipe if you dont mind sharing!:)
    Thanks Linda, All Gold sounds interesting!
    Thanks Alli, although I doubt Mum thinks it is cool, she could not wait for me to take it!
    Hi Alessandra, looking fwd to meeting you to:)
    Not lazy Desiree, just relaxed:)

  9. Oh my gosh...your dad sounds just like my dad!!! He was an avid tomato grower too before he died a few a years ago and I will never forget the time he turned up with 26kg of tomatoes at my house and we spent the next week, bottling, making tomato sauce, pasta sauce, salsa...you name it, we made it. I had asked for a "few" tomatoes to make a bit of sauce and like your parents, nothing ever went to waste.

    I hope things are getting a little easier now for you.

  10. Hello again!

    Of course, you are welcome to the recipe, I didn't post the link as I didn't want to be rude and seem like I was spamming!

    Here's a link to my blog: http://www.kaveyeats.com/search/label/condiment%20ketchup
    It'll show you the three posts on ketchup, one of which is for spicy green tomato ketchup though I've made same for red, there's a picture of the red version in the last of the posts listed.

    And here's the recipe on my mum's website: http://www.mamtaskitchen.com/recipe_display.php?id=10564

  11. Thank you for this simple excellent recipe. I made it today and it turned out great! 'Natural' tomato sauce is hard to find in the shops but now I know homemade is easy to do I'll keep making my own. Now going to make some chips!

  12. I live in France and postage costs are horrendous so I'll be making my own! I already make plum sauce that is much appreciated so this'll be fun to try. Thank you for sharing your recipe and memories. We used to have preserving maratons too in summer in New Zealand when I was a child.��

  13. This tomatoe sauce took a while to make but it was so well worth it... totally fantastic! :)
    And thanks for useful advice!


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