Sorry Big Ketchup


My fiancé and I started doing meal preps for the week on Sundays.  I love a good sandwich and all, but we’d both gotten a bit bored with Pret and Eat sandwiches the all taste pretty meh and “sushi” from places that Japanese sushi chefs say “No, no, no!” to.  So, the only real option was to be a bit more creative with what we prepped and brought in.  Salads and other types of veg are decent sides and a half a fillet of roast chicken (or curried, or with tex mex spices) hits the spot, as does turkey meatballs made with thigh mince or black bean burgers.  Still, I’m not the most inventive guy in the world, so it can end up being much of a muchness, which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place.

The solution was simple and delicious.  Sauces.  Make delicious sauces without cream or butter (it can be hard, I know, but I didn’t think it was appropriate for lunches that were ostensibly supposed to be healthier than getting something from the chain store).  This inspiration started from a Guardian article about tips for grilling by Richard H Turner (the executive chef from the Hawksmoor) in which he extolled the virtues of non-tomato ketchups and how they were a fantastic complement to beautiful grilled foods.

I loved the sound of making my own ketchups.  That wasn’t my first real foray into the “sauce for lunch” land.  Instead, I stuck to things that I knew – chimichurri, pesto (maybe not a sauce, but that’s how I use it), tsatziki, honey mustard.  All good, all super easy.  The article about ketchups had peaked my interest though and it was hard to pull myself away from the idea.  My culinary curiosity was scratching away at the back of my mind and last weekend I had to give in.

I took a look at Richard H Turner’s various recipes.  All sounded good and the idea of a non-tomato ketchup was intriguing.  Still, I wasn’t ready to venture that far away from something I knew.  I would, however, be doing a couple of twists as I wanted mine to taste a bit more like a BBQ sauce.  As ever, I subtracted few things, opted for half the quantity, added in a few things that made it more BBQey (but not the super delicious bits like molasses) and voila!  You have the ketchup that I decanted into an old Tiptree ketchup bottle and which is pictured.

The bottle was full on Saturday when we had it with a beautiful piece of aged rib steak.

I’ve since had it with chicken sausages for breakfast and with chicken in my lunch box.  Delicious, and I can’t wait to try out some of the other ideas.

As I said, this recipe is entirely inspired by the article in the Guardian by Richard H Turner, but with my own twists.  Hope you enjoy it if you try it.

Tomato BBQ sauce (which is definitely good for more than BBQ foods)

– 500 g ripe tomatoes
– 1 red apple, peeled and cored
– 1 small shallot, diced
– 1 clove garlic
– 1 green chilli (seeds removed)
– 1 tsp allspice powder
– 1 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp mild mustard
– 100 ml cider vineger
– 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 50 – 100g honey
– Salt to taste

1) Put all ingredients into a pan and bring to a boil
2) Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally
3) Blitz everything using a hand blender
4) Put everything through a sieve so that what’s left is smooth and without bits
5) Decant into a sterilised jar/bottle

– GT, London