Making dinner was always one of my favourite jobs. I can remember cooking spaghetti bolognaise with my own homemade tomato sauce when I was 11 or 12. We always had a vegetable garden so we would wander down and grab herbs and veges like parsley and spinach then pop them straight into whatever we were making.
Knowing how to prepare food and where it comes from has always been important to me. That’s why I love homemade baking. I know exactly what’s gone into the mixture, it helps curb my sweet tooth, plus it’s so nice to cut into a freshly baked cake and share it among friends with a good ol’ cup of English breakfast tea. What more could you ask for?
Rather than a cake recipe, which can be found in abundance on my website misscharlottecake.com, I’ve decided to pass on my super-easy, delicious and nutritious tomato sauce, which is fabulous with pasta dishes. You can buy tomatoes in bulk cheaply when they are in season from your local market, and spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon simmering this recipe.
Use washed recycled jars if you don’t want to buy new ones, and as long as you’ve sterilised them properly, you’ll always have a fresh batch of sauce on hand.
The method I use to preserve fruit and vegetables has been around for thousands of years. It was a way to make sure there was always enough food throughout the year. Not only is it humbling to know you have a pantry full of homemade preserves, but they are a real treat to make for gifts too. Simply tie some cute ribbon around the top and buy (or make, if you’re crafty) some nice labels so you can write down the flavour and the date it was made.
- 2 kilograms fresh tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 4 tbsps lemon juice
- ½ cup pure olive oil (the greener the better)
- Pinch of salt
- 2–3 500ml glass jars with seals/lids (you may need more or less jars depending on how big the tomatoes are).
- Finely chop onions and garlic and sauté lightly with a little olive oil in a medium-sized pot until the onions turn clear.
- Finely chop the tomatoes, add to the pot with the remaining ingredients and lower the temperature.
- Lightly simmer your sauce until the tomatoes have completely softened and broken up. This can take up to 45 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare your jars. Thoroughly wash in hot soapy water, rinse and pop them into the oven at 100 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Once your mixture resembles a slightly chunky sauce, remove from the heat and carefully pour into your clean, sterile jars right to the top, to push out air from the jar. Put the lids on and let the jars cool. I like to store mine at the bottom of the fridge.