I have been introducing Ben’s friends and their mums to our home made answer to the sugary tomato ketchup (which they all love!) and it occurred to me that I should share some of our home made solutions to the huge amounts of sugar, e numbers and other chemicals to be found in almost everything on the duopoly supermarket shelves. So:
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
This is so simple, cheap and easy. Just get a jar of pure tomato paste and add balsamic vinegar to taste. Gives you that lovely sweet/sour flavour and is full of tomato goodness. You can either mix it directly in the jar or spoon out the amount you need into a container and mix to taste.
This can be made either with or without honey. You can add stevia if you like that sweet and sour flavour on your salad. I like it without, the boys like it with honey, so here it is with:
Big tablespoon of honey, big tablespoon or two of french mustard (sugar free is VILUX), pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, good glug of balsamic, double that amount of apple cider vinegar and then add oil to the consistency you prefer. Yum!
Quick & easy salads
We buy sundried tomatos in bulk and then just add a few to boiling water once a week and store them in the fridge as a mainstay of our salads as follows: whatever greens are in the garden (currently bok choy and kale, often spinach, rocket in summer) chopped with scissors into a bowl. Chop sundried tomatoes similarly and add pitted olives, cherry tomatoes if available, and sometimes quinoa if there is any leftover, chopped bacon or roasted pumpkin.
In the whizzer:
Easy peasy beetroot and carrot just chopped in the machine – kids adore it! Also can add an apple and some raisins for a sweeter salad. Homemade coleslaw is also a winner – cabbage, carrot, raisins and soya mayo (the only one that is sugar free!)
Home Baked Beans
Baked Beans are such a comfort food. Rich, thick and tasty. We make a huge pot at a time and then subdivide into freezer portions after feasting. You can either soak and cook dried beans (soak overnight, then cook for about 3 hours until soft) or just rinse canned beans. Make a thick, rich tomato sauce withe onion, balsamic, tomatoes, tomato paste and then add the secret ingredient when you add the cooked beans – molasses (to taste). This gives the sweetness with added iron and minerals – really good for you.
Another firm family favourite is lentils, chop and fry an onion in oil and balsamic (are you beginning to see a pattern here??), crush garlic and add to pan and then add water, miso paste and vegetable stock until you have a nice thick tasty stock. Add the soaked lentils (french puy lentils are best, but any will do). Cook for an hour or more until rich and tasty. Add chopped spinach (fresh or frozen) just before serving so it is still green and just wilted. Serve with croutons (toast cut into squares) and grated parmesan on top – delish!