Hooray, it’s finally BBQ time!* I’m a big fan of barbeques, which is lucky because as soon as the sun comes out we seem to have one every other night (granted the sun only comes out about 3 times a year in England). But for me, the draw of the barbie isn’t in the row of slightly overcooked sausages or the frazzled burger patties, it’s the condiments and the salads that stand meekly by their side. (I know, I know, bear with me).
*I wrote this yesterday… when it was sunny.
What would a burger be without the addition of a slice of crunchy green pickle, an oozing of melted cheese, a drizzle of piquant mustard and of course a dollop of deep red tomato ketchup? It’s ALL about the condiments! But I’ve always been slightly mistrustful of Heinz’s version of the red stuff. So red, so sweet, so uniform. This home made ketchup is a game changer for me. Tomatoes are the star of this show, their sweet stickiness providing a hearty vehicle for the lovely range of spices that are used to flavour the sauce. I know there will be many of you who will never be prized from your bottle of Heinz, so maybe this won’t be for you. But for the rest of you, I urge you to try this. Your BBQ burgers, cheese toasties, cooked breakfasts etc etc etc will thank you for years to come.
Finding the prospect of roasting the tomatoes as well as making the ketchup all a bit much, I once made this with shop bought passata. I have to say: it’s worth the roasting. The shop bought passata did work to an extent, but the stickiness that the roasting provides was sadly lacking. This looks on paper like a fairly complicated recipe for what will essentially be a small dollop of sauce but it’s such a great thing to have handy in the fridge. It’s worth it. And it actually isn’t that complicated when you do it. For those of you who grow your own tomatoes, you may want to wait until later in the summer to do this as you need a lot and it’s a fantastic way to use them up. I managed to go into my greengrocer on a day they were selling over ripe bags of tomatoes for £1 – so I really couldn’t resist the temptation. And I halved the recipe as well which made life a bit easier.
And apologies for this week’s photo. My camera is on the blink. So iphone it is for now.
This recipe is from River Cottage Handbook No.2 – Preserves by Pam Corbin
Roasted tomato passata
2kg ripe tomatoes chopped into quarters.
200g shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
a few rosemary, thyme or oregano sprigs
1 tsp salt
half teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
50 ml olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and roast all the above for about an hour or until nicely softened. Once done, rub through a sieve or use a mouli to extract the pulp and lovely juices.
1 litre passata (above)
100ml cider vinegar
50ml lemon juice
1 heaped teaspoon celery salt
1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
half teaspoon ground pepper
quarter teaspoon ground cloved
100g demarara sugar
Put the passata into a heavy-based pan with the vinegar, lemon juice and spices. Bring to a simmering point then add the sugar. Stir until dissolved then continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes until the sauce is reduced to a thick but pourable consistency.
Pour immediately into warm, sterilised bottles or jars. Seal immediately with vinegar proof lids. Store in a cool, dry place and use within 4 months. Once opened keep in the fridge.
NB: I personally didn’t bother with the sterilisation as I only made half quantity and kept my bottle in the fridge for immediate use!