Monthly Archives: March 2015

Homemade tomato ketchup

The favours at our wedding

The favours at our wedding

Recipe by Adam Holden, inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

My husband, Adam, made this ketchup as a favour for our guests on our wedding day last year and, although I may be biased, it is blinkin’ lovely, and it’s so satisfying to make your own. He also has an amazing brown sauce recipe, which may well appear here soon…


4 cans of good quality tinned tomatoes. They can be chopped or whole, as they will eventually be blended anyway – we used half and half to get a blend of juice and flavour.

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 whole star anise

2 sprigs of rosemary

8 peppercorns

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 anchovy fillets

½ tube of good quality tomato purée

200mls red wine

A homemade bouquet garni (tie the following up in a muslin bag: a big pinch of mace – “mace is ace!” – some thyme, 4 cloves, one fresh bay leaf or two dried ones, a whole scotch bonnet*, ½ stick of cinnamon). *Scotch bonnet is what we used – it’s fruity and has a lovely rounded spice if used whole. If cut then it would be ferocious! You could use a milder chilli, cut in two if you prefer.

300g (approx.) brown sugar

300mls (approx.) white wine vinegar

Olive oil (for frying)

Splash of white wine

Get to it!

  1. In a large saucepan on a low-medium heat, fry the onion in olive oil with the star anise, rosemary sprigs and peppercorns until the onion is soft and starting to colour (you want to get a caramelised colour without letting them go crispy). If it starts to stick then just add a splash of white wine.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the anchovy fillets. Stir it all until it breaks down. Do NOT let the garlic burn. If it does, then you need to start again as it will make the whole sauce bitter.
  3. Add the tomato purée and stir fry until it starts to stick (probably about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the red wine, turn up the heat, and keep stirring until it’s reduced by a third.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and the bouquet garni and gently simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Keep the empty tins.
  6. Fill one of the empty tins 2/3 full of brown sugar and add that to the sauce. Do the same with the white wine vinegar, but this time transfer it across the remaining three tins to make sure that you get every last drop of tomato goodness. Stir the sauce for a bit to combine it all.
  7. Simmer uncovered until it’s think and syrupy (which will take a couple of hours). It becomes like a volcano as it thickens, so get a cheap mesh frying guard to pop over the pan or else your kitchen will look like a massacre has occurred, and you’ll probably end up with molten tomato sauce in your face. No one wants that.
  8. Taste and decide if you like it – you may want to add more sugar or vinegar at this stage.
  9. Go fishing: remove the bouquet garni and any other big bits and pieces (like the rosemary) and then blend until smooth with a hand blender.
  10. Bottle while it’s hot, in sterilised jars, as if you were making jam.