I recently had a request from my friend Polly in Ireland for my recipe for Tomato Ketchup. I say friend but needless to say this is a very modern usage as Polly is someone who I have never met apart from "on-line". My children find it extraordinary that I have "on-line friends". They warn me of the dangers of such things although surely they must realise that I am not an obvious candidate to be taken in and duped into running away with someone I've met on a blog about gardening or knitting. Anyway, as far as Polly is concerned I have thought hard about my childrens' warnings and simply can't see anything suspicious about someone who also has a garden requesting a recipe for Tomato Ketchup so here it is:
I am a great fan of Hugh F-W and the following is basically his recipe but I can't always get the spices he suggests so I put in what I have in the cupboard. This year it is as follows:
3kgs of ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 large onions, sliced
1 red pepper, pips removed and then chopped
200mls cider vinegar
100gms brown sugar
Spice bag: 1 star anis, cloves, chopped up chilly pepper (I put in three this morning - I'll let you know if that was a mistake - see below), 1 cinnamon stick, peppercorms,
Put the tomatoes, onions and pepper into a large pan and simmer until really soft. Liquidize and then rub through a sieve. Put the result back in the large pan and add the vinegar, sugar and spice bag. Bring to the boil and then simmer for as long as it takes to reduce to a pulpy mix. Put into warmed sterile pots and store. You can use bottles but be aware that the ketchup thickens as it cools and what pours in might then refuse to come out again!
If you are using homegrown tomatoes you might like to plan a larger tomato area for next year. 3kgs is a huge amount and in our case represents about a week's worth of tomatoes. Luckily this year is a good one for tomatoes (unlike the past two years) and also I planted many more than usual so we can still have a tomato salad for lunch - anyway the cucumbers need eating at the moment!
I think it's safe to say that 3 chilli peppers were too many! It is delicious but VERY hot!