Monday, April 27, 2009

Tomato ketchup


6kg/13lb ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
8 medium onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 large red peppers, seeds and white filament removed, chopped
150g/5oz soft brown sugar
500ml/17fl oz cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard
½ tsp large piece of cinnamon stick
1 tbsp whole allspice
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp ground mace
1 tbsp celery seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
paprika, to taste (optional)


Combine the tomatoes, onion and peppers in a large heavy pan over a medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very soft.

Push through a coarse-mesh sieve and return to the pot with the sugar, vinegar and mustard. Tie the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mace, celery seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in a square of muslin and drop it into the stew. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Continue to cook, allowing it to bubble gently, stirring often and carefully, for at least 10-20 minutes, until thoroughly blended and quite thick.

Leave to cool, remove the muslin bag of spices, then pour the mixture through a funnel into suitable bottles. Stored in the fridge this ketchup will keep for a month. If you follow the prescribed procedure for preserves and bottle in properly sterilised jars, it should keep for a year.

Use it as you would any commercial tomato ketchup, to accompany burgers, sausages, and plain grilled fish and chicken, but always with enormous self-satisfaction bordering on smugness.

Makes approx. 4 jars

Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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