Sewing, craft and other musings

Monday, 10 February 2014

Ragu time ...

Last year was a wonderful time for surplus tomatoes. We had had a particularly bountiful year as my husbands grandfather (a master of all things green and growing) had given us a couple of tomato plants and they had thrived on the patio outside. We also had a single courgette that had survived the onslaught of slugs which also seemed to thrive in my garden.

I wanted to preserve them in some way and ended up buying a book helpfully called 'The Preserving Book' (see link below!)

This recipe makes a Vegetable and Tomato Relish.

You need:
1 kg ripe tomatoes (I used cherry)
2 onions roughly chopped
3 courgettes roughly chopped
1 yellow pepper de seeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 red chillies (I didn't use these as my husband doesn't do chilli!)
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp English mustard powder (I used normal English mustard)
300ml malt or cider vinegar (I used some locally made cider vinegar)
150g granulated sugar

The tomatoes, onions, courgettes, pepper and garlic were first chopped by hand (although they do say you could use a food processor if you don't want chunks in your relish but as I was going to use this as a ragu base I wanted it chunky!) At this point you can add the chilli too but I never put it in and it tasted great without it!

All the chopped vegetables then go into a large pan (I used my jam pan as it has a heavy bottom) but any preserving pan that is stainless steel would do.

Stir in the tomato purée, mustard and then add the vinegar and sugar.

Simmer the mixture, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn the heat up and cook the mixture for 40 minutes to an hour. Make sure it is stirred frequently over this time as it might stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken.

Have your jars ready and sterile but warm and then ladle the mixture into them. Make sure the seals are vinegar proof!

Store in a cool dark place. I use the cupboard in my shed which is perfect.

Let it mature for a month before using in pasta sauce or similar. It is very, very good!

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