Before I start my ramble, I just want to say how touched I was by your kind comments after the loss of my Dad, what a lovely bunch you are, I was very moved, thanks so much:)
Now on with the show.....
When life throws you lemons apparently you should make lemonade. Life is throwing me tomatoes, so the obvious solution? Good old fashioned tomato sauce. By sauce I mean ketchup style, as opposed to something you might put onto spaghetti or pizza. I don't know why I suddenly have a craving to make this, I never have before, and Mum certainly raised a wry smile when I asked for some of her massive tomato crop.
Mum made her own tomato sauce when we were growing up. Dad always seem to think we were on the cusp of a world shortage, and grew Beefsteak like it was the last vege on earth. Waste was just not acceptable, so like most woman of her generation she preserved, bottled and stored the excess. Except for beans, they were just force feed to five children until we begged for clemency.........I think she finds it funny that what was done then out of necessity is suddenly so cool.
Old malt vinegar bottles (they were glass back then) filled to the brim with red lined the kitchen shelves, next to bottled golden queen peaches and christmas plums. I would come home whining from my friends house's complaining about having to have homemade, I wanted bought sauce, Watties if you please....or even Heinz at a push.
It was yet another indignity to be borne, along with getting dropped off at school in the huge old blue Falcon (my younger sister has cerebral palsy so could not walk, we would both beg Mum to park around the corner pleeeeeese!) and having to check Dad's Western books out of the library when I picked up my Moosewood cookbook and Sweet Valley Highs......oh the shame) It's amazing I'm fairly normal.......
This recipe comes courtesy of Sally Cameron, from NZ Gardener Homegrown series, the Tomato edition. It uses plenty of tomatoes, and isnt to difficult to make.....
Sally's Tomato Sauce
3 kg firm ripe tomatoes (I used a mix of cherry, Black Krim, Roma and Beefsteak)
2 onions, peeled
5 medium apples
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 tbsp salt
750 gr brown sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
2.5 cm fresh ginger root, peeled
1 tsp black peppercorns
Roughly chop the tomatoes, apples and onions and place in a large pot. I didn't bother peeling the apples. Bring to the boil and simmer for approx 30 minutes until the fruit is soft and pulpy. The original recipe say to push the mix through a sieve, but I used Mum's mouli, which was really easy and produced a great result. It is also what she used, and I thought you might like to admire that fab orange, yeoww!
Return the mixture to the saucepan and add the vinegar, salt, sugar, cayenne and lemon juice. Tie the peppercorns, cloves and allspice in a piece of muslin (or a clean hankie if you don't have muslin) and throw into the pot also. Stir gently while everything comes to the boil, then leave to simmer gently for about 1 1/4 hours.
I suspect I could have left mine a bit longer to make a slightly thicker sauce but it will depend on how much liquid was in your fruit. It will still taste amazing so don't stress. Take your bag/hankie out and pour into sterilised bottles or jars. I run mine through the dishwasher, but you can also let them sit for 10 minutes in a 110C oven. Either way make sure they are warm before you add the hot sauce or there will be tears and shards of glass from A to B........
This makes enough to fill ten 350 ml bottles, which is quite a lot of fish and chips. Give a bottle to someone who has never had the real thing, it is quite a difference. If they are a child don't be surprised if they give it back, kids can be ingrates........