Happy New Year and into a new decade we go. What a better way to celebrate than a big ball of meatballs with home made tomato sauce, there is nothing more warming and satisfying. The thing about tomato sauce is to season, this is very important as the right balance is essential otherwise tomatoes are very easy to taste bland.
What You Need:
800g Tinned Whole Plum Tomatoes or You own poached Tomatoes, peeled (around 9 tomatoes with juice, roughly chopped), 3 garlic cloves, 1 glass of red wine, 1 glass of chicken stock, 1 large onion, hand full of fresh thyme, 2 tsp of sugar, salt and pepper to season
First slice thinly the garlic and the onions and in a large pan with olive oil sauté until golden brown and soft, once done add the glass of wine and simmer for around 5 minutes, then add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix together until the sugar starts to thicken. Then add the tomatoes and stir. Simmer the mixture for a further 5 minutes and then stir in the chicken stock followed by a grind of pepper and salt. Bring the sauce to the boil and let it bubble for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours adding the thyme leaves. After set the sauce aside and let it cool at room temperature to capture all the flavours.
To serve pour the sauce over meatballs or roasted vegetables and grated cheese and bake in the oven for 20mins, eat with spaghetti or a light spinach salad.
Anything with mint is a winner for me and this jelly sauce is no exception. The combination of apple and mint gives the bitter sweet taste , you can use with roast pork and lamb, an ideal compliment for your Sunday dinner.
What you Need:
8 small apples (granny smith are good especially apples with pinkish skin for colour), 450g sugar, 2 tablespoons liquid pectin, 30g fresh mint (roughly chopped), 1 juice of lemon.
First quarter the apples and add to a large saucepan, fill the pan with enough water to cover the apples and add the mint and lemon juice. Bring this mixture to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Take off the heat and cool. After, drain the liquid from the apples and set aside. With a potato masher lightly mash the apple mint mixture and pour the puree into a sieve over a large bowl. With the back of a spoon push and mush the apple in the sieve to extract the juice and fine pulp, be patient you will find after a while you will have got quite a lot out of the mixture. Once you have extracted as much as you can discard the mush left overs, and take the strained juice/pulp and pour into a measuring jug and then top up with the cooking juice, to 1 pint.
Take the 1 pint of mixture and add to a clean saucepan and mix in the sugar. On a low heat stir until all the sugar has dissolved, now add the pectin. Turn up the heat and rapidly boil the mixture for 15mins, once the jelly has done it should have reached the temperature of 105C. Take off the heat and pour into a recycled sterilised jar, seal straight away, cool at room temperature and then chill. Do not worry if your mixture is liquidly when you add it to the jar because as it cools it will set.
I had some left over roasted pumpkin from the soup so I decided to bubble it up and create a yummy pickle. This recipe is nice and simple. This batch makes around 5 medium jars. Also don’t forget to recycle and use old jars which you can sterilise in the oven.
What You Need:
3 Bramley Apples, 1 Large Red Onion, Cube of Fresh Ginger, 1/2 Roasted Pumpkin, 550ml of Malt Vinegar, 150ml of Water, 400g of Dark Brown Sugar, 1tbs Salt, 1tsp Canyanne Pepper, Squeeze of Lemon Juice, 1tsp English Mustard and pepper to season.
First chop onion, apples to the size you like, add to a large saucepan with everything else (except Pumpkin, Sugar and Salt). Boil up the mixture and simmer for 30mins.
After 30mins stir in the sugar and salt until dissolved and simmer again for another hour, every so often stir the mixture. When the chutney is to the consistency you like (maybe simmer for 5 hours to reduce excess liquid) add the chopped roasted pumpkin and mix together, leave to cool then pot into warm jars and seal.
I recommend you leave it to mature for a month and then eat with cheese.. yum!