About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Ian had a hankering for bacon sarnies for lunch today, and I can't argue with a bacon sarnie, but I fancied ketchup with mine and we didn't have any. Maybe I could make some, I thought - it's basically tomato sauce preserved with vinegar and sugar, isn't it? I emptied a tin of tomatoes into a pan and started it cooking while I consulted the recipe books.

Delia had a recipe for Victorian plum or damson ketchup, which confirmed my hunch about the basic idea... and salt - don't forget the salt. I had to double check the quantities though, luckily I noticed she was using eight pounds of fruit, or I'd have ended up with far too much vinegar etc. Mrs Beeton had nothing that looked like ketchup (I thought it was a Victorian recipe!) and neither did Jane Grigson, so I gave up and used Delia's version as a general guide.

I didn't have any spirit vinegar as recommended, so I added a capful each of balsamic and wine vinegar, and possibly cider vinegar too, I can't actually remember now. Delia used brown sugar, but I didn't want too strong a caramel flavour, so I just put a bit of brown sugar in - probably a couple of teaspoons - then added white granulated - probably a couple of tablespoons. As you can see, I'm not very precise about quantities - just chuck stuff in and see what it tastes like. Oh yes, and salt. About a teaspoonful. Don't forget the salt.

Once that lot had cooked down a bit (tomatoes = mushy, quantity = less than it was to start with), I pushed it through a seive to get a smooth consistency, then decided it was too thin, so put it back in the pan with a fair bit of cornflour in a little water and heated again. At this point I got the urge to add celery salt. I tried to resist this urge as I didn't want to ruin a perfectly good sauce with random spices, but it wouldn't go away, so I gave in. It turned out that my subconscious was right: The celery salt took the edge off the sweet and sour taste of the vinegar and sugar.

The end result looked a lot like ketchup, and it tasted pretty good, too. Not like Heinz, but Ian actually prefers my version. I'm rather proud of this - can you tell? He says it's not so strong, which I think means it has less vinegar, and probably less salt.

It's ketchup! Yes, I know it's in an olive jar, but I don't think I'm in any danger of picking up that jar and expecting to find olives in it.

And here it is in its proper place, on a bacon sarnie:

Mmmm, bacon sarnie!

I should point out that most lunchtimes, that bread would have had nothing but a bit of butter on it, or maybe some jam, but today we dined like kings*!

*Kings who are eating bacon sandwiches, that is.

1 comment:

  1. The sauce looks yummy as does the sandwich. Well done!


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