I'm married to Mr Romantic...
What's romance & tomatoes got to do with each other you ask?
The other week I commented to Dave that I would love to find somewhere to get bulk, freshly grown tomatoes so I can make my chutneys & sauces we enjoy all year long. Dave stored this in the back of his mind & on a recent business trip he was driving through a remote part of the state when he saw a rickety sign advertising tomatoes for sale. He promptly turned around & followed the sign down a windy, dirt lane & brought me a box of the most delicious tomatoes from a little farm that has 3 generations of one family working together & grows 3 acres of tomato plants ( OK these were their seconds, but they were certainly better than anything for sale around here in the supermarket). Dave keeps reminding me how very romantic this was!
Just to put this into perspective...
The next week my friend's hubby brought her an automatic vacuum cleaner (you know ~ one of the ones that goes by itself).
Her hubby now holds the title of Mr Super Romantic....!!!! (LOL)
(Her hubby was the one who commented to mine 'whoever's wife has the most cows wins'! Dave is currently ( until the end of March) winning that one! )
Anyway...with my box of deliciously, tasty tomatoes I set to work.
I made a double batch of my fruit & tomato chutney. We love this & I actually only opened the last bottle from 2013 last week, so it lasts well!
I also made a single batch of the tomato & chilli chutney we enjoy ( at least the chilli's were homegrown)!
I had always hoped to find a recipe for tomato sauce ( ketchup if you are from the USA) to make myself. I've felt a measure of guilt whenever I've purchased one of those big bottles of tomato sauce not knowing exactly what it contains. I came across two recipes from Gourmet Farmer (HERE & HERE) & decided to adapt them to what I envisioned would suit our tastes. I did find that about half way into the simmering it was far too strong for our family, but was able to adjust the taste with an extra addition of vinegar & sugar (I have added the adjustments into my recipe). I've decided that this type of cooking is one of my favourite ways to spend a day in the kitchen!
The resulting recipe is rather different from the original/s, so I thought I'd share it here:
RENATA'S TOMATO SAUCE (KETCHUP) RECIPE:
1 1/2 L of white vinegar;
1 1/2 - 2 kg raw sugar ( to taste);
1 head of garlic;
30 g ground allspice
1 tsp mace
2 tsp dried ginger;
10g black peppercorns;
1 tsp cayenne pepper;
5 kg tomatoes (chopped);
1 kg brown onions (chopped);
1 kg green cooking apples (peeled, cored & chopped);
1. Place vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt & spices into large saucepan & bring to the boil.
2. Add tomatoes, onions & apples. Reduce heat & simmer uncovered for 2 hours (stirring frequently).
3. Once sufficiently thick (I waited until it had boiled down to the 6L mark on my pot), remove from heat.
4. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth ( or desired consistency).
5. Reboil sauce. Remove from heat & pour into sterilised glass jars, then seal immediately.
We all enjoy this sauce & I am happy serving it knowing exactly what it contains! This does make 6 L so I used a huge assortment of bottles since that is what I had. A couple didn't seal well, so I put them into the fridge for immediate use!
So my 'romantic' gift has been put to good use and we will enjoy it all year around!
( And just so you know, I really did think it was romantic that he actually thought of me, turned around & went off-track to get these tomatoes just for me ~ my hubby knows me well)!
Have a wonderful day friends