For me, tomato sauce is comfort food, one tinged with memories of fish and chips or egg and bacon burgers as a kid. However the processed variety is full of salt, sugar and preservatives. This recipe turns the bad into the good- full of veggies, and the lycopene in cooked tomatoes is thought to be cancer protective. I've also replaced the sugar with low fructose rice malt syrup for a liver friendly recipe.
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
½ bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 stick celery , trimmed and roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic , peeled and sliced
½ fresh red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 kg yellow, orange or green tomatoes, chopped, or 500g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 500g tinned plum tomatoes
150 ml red wine or apple cide vinegar
1 tbsp rice malt syrup
Place all the vegetables in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a big splash of olive oil and the ginger, garlic, chilli, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves. Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.
Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 350ml of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.
Add the basil leaves, then whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice, until smooth. Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.
Spoon the ketchup through a sterilized funnel into sterilized bottles, then seal tightly and place in a cool dark place or the fridge until needed – it should keep for six months.
-Return a batch to the saucepan before seasoning and add chopped chilli for a chilli sauce kick