droptober recipe #8: syn-free tomato ketchup

Just a recipe for syn-free tomato ketchup today – no time for chit-chat because we’re getting shit done. I say getting shit done, we’re actually trying our best to work through 87 episodes of Police Interceptors and Jeremy Kyle before the Sky man gives us a new box on Monday. I’m not having him judging me based on the fact that most of our TV recordings have the word ‘Benefits’ in the title somewhere and have all been recorded from Channel 5 HD. What can I say? I’m a sucker for seeing bumblebee-teeth (yellow, black, venomous) in blistering high-definition.

So, syn-free tomato ketchup. I did have a look around for a syn-free version and indeed, Slimming World have their own take on the tomato ketchup, but naturally, they add artificial sweetener. So it’s syn-free but tastes like shite (in my humble opinion). Other recipes use passata which is fine, but if you can get your hands on proper tomatoes from the market or grown yourself, all the better. This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver, a man who thoroughly divides our house. Paul hates him with a passion, whereas I think he’s a sweet-natured fella with his heart in the right place, even if his tongue isn’t.

To the recipe then. To be clear, this recipe does contain 50g of brown sugar which should be synned at 10 syns. But it also makes about six bottles worth of the size you can see in my picture. Given there’s probably about 10 servings per bottle, it works out at less than a tenth of a syn per dash. If you’re the type of person who puts ketchup on like you’re trying to hide the food you’re eating underneath, perhaps you ought to syn it. Your choice. You’re an adult, after all, though even if you used every last bit of sauce in one meal, it would still only be 10 syns. So…?

It does use a lot of ingredients but you ought to have most of them kicking around in the cupboard and yes, it is one of those recipes that you could just use a bit of Heinz and syn it – but damn if it doesn’t taste good! We made a batch with red tomatoes and another with orange, hence the colour difference. We added a bit more vinegar to the orange sauce and reduced the sugar – made for a more ‘sweet and sour’ taste. Listen, I know, we’re amazing.

syn-free tomato ketchup

to make syn-free tomato ketchup, you’ll need:

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • some spray olive oil
  • a little knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb, minced using one of these to save time
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, also using the tool above
  • ½ fresh red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped (feel free to leave out if you’re not a fan of ringsting)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped (if you buy a plant, stick it in water afterwards and it’ll cheerfully grow again)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 kg yellow, orange or green tomatoes , chopped, or 500g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 500g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 50g soft brown sugar

to make syn-free tomato ketchup, you should:

  • make sure you’ve got a heavy duty pot for this – non-stick and decent size
  • give the pan a few squirts of oil then add everything solid bar the tomatoes – the onion, fennel, celery, ginger, garlic, basil stalks, pepper, salt, cloves and coriander seeds
  • cook gently for about fifteen minutes until everything is softened slightly, then add the tomatoes and 350ml water and allow to gently simmer, like a loved one taking a huff because you recorded over her soap operas
  • allow to simmer until it has reduced by half – can take a while, but there’s no rush here
  • once reduced, throw in the basil leaves and whoosh the sauce with a stick blender – or allow to cool and do it in the food processor, whatever is easiest
  • Jim recommends sieving the sauce twice and I agree – it’s a fart on but it makes for a much smoother ketchup
  • return to the heat and add the vinegar and sugar – stir well and again, allow to simmer for ages until it’s really reduced down and gone nice and thick and gloopy – this took a couple of hours for me, stirring every now and then – no need to rush these things
  • once you’re happy, and you know it, and you really want to fucking show it, decant the ketchup into your sterilised bottles
  • to sterilise bottles, according to the BBC:

Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Place the jars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely.

  • keep in the fridge until you need a bit of ketchup in your life – it’s that easy!

Our bottles are cute, but you can use anything glass as long as you sterilise it first. We have fancy Kilner ones because of course we do, and you can buy a set on Amazon for a reasonable enough price by clicking here. They have the added bonus of allowing you to look like a right hipster sod by drinking your smoothies from them too! LOVE YOU.

RIGHT. Must get back to the TV, Paul’s eyes have become unfocussed from so much flashing lights. If you want more recipes, click some of the wonderful buttons below, and have a smashing weekend.

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J

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