Hungover Mother Ketchup

 Home made tomato ketchup 

Home made tomato ketchup 

Last Saturday I went to the hen party of one of my oldest friends. Last year, I missed my best friend and my sisters hen parties when L was still tiny. Needless to say I was very excited...All of this is a round about way of saying, last Saturday night I got horribly, horribly drunk. I spent Sunday morning in bed and Sunday afternoon, weakly sipping Lucozade on the sofa. I did absolutely zero mothering or wife-ing that day....but it was was worth it...almost.

In an attempt to assuage my maternal guilt; on Monday I tried something I have wanted to do for months - ever since I realised that L will eat anything I put in front of him if he can dip it in red sauce. 

Every ketchup recipe I found asked for either 30 ingredients or 500g of the finest tomatoes money could buy (I'm looking at you Jamie, Leon, and Hugh). Eventually I decided to wing it, adapting a recipe by preserving and pickling goddess Karen Solomon. Check the original recipe here.

  • 1 large white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tins of whole tomatoes*
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 50 grams golden caster sugar
  • 110ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 star anise
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Puree the tomatoes in a blender. Tip 3 quarters of the mixture out into a bowl and add the onions to the remaining quarter of the tomatoes and blitz until smooth.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pan and add the onion, tomato puree, cook on a low heat for ten minutes, then add the rest of the tomato mix, along with the sugar and vinegar. Simmer for 15 minutes until it has reduced, stiring every so often. Add the spices** other than the paprika. Cook for 10 more minutes.

What you do next depends on how voracious your ketchup appetite is. If you'll eat it in a month or so then just pop it in a plastic box or clean jar. If you'd like to keep it longer or are making larger quantities then you'll need to sterilise your jars as you would if making jam. BBC Food do a great guide.

*For years I bought basics tinned tomatoes until I realised I was often using double the quantities specified. Tinned toms are one of the few things it's worth spending money on. Italian whole tomatoes are best if your budget will allow.

 **I put the spices in a metal tea leaf holder which I've had lying around for years, but you can just fish them out at the end or when you serve. Taste, season and add the paprika.