Whilst those bottles of well-known brown and red ketchups do a very good job there is nothing that can compete with the flavour of the home-made versions.
I’m going to focus my attention on the classic red sauce, for as the British tomato season flourishes there is no better time to start exploring the art of turning juicy, red and fragrant tomatoes into something worthy of your best chips.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
(makes approx. 2½ litres)
3.3kg ripe ‘seconds’ tomatoes – roughly chopped
1 onion roughly diced
1 head of garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
110g sea salt
600ml red wine vinegar
½tsp ground chipotle
1 generous tsp whole cloves
½ a nutmeg – grated
¼ tsp ground mace
¼ tsp cinnamon
Put all the ingredients, apart from the nutmeg mace and cinnamon, into a large preserving pan and simmer for approximately three hours.
During the simmering process take care to stir it often with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom.
Leave to cool slightly before putting the sauce through a food mouli (or use a food processor and then sieve) and then add the nutmeg, mace and cinnamon.
The ketchup is best stored in small stoppered bottles or small Kilner jars that have been sterilised, I have used a variety of recycled bottles including swing topped beer bottles. Sealed and sterilised correctly, these will keep wonderfully in a cool dark cupboard.
Once opened, the individual bottles should be stored in the fridge, where they will keep well for up to a month.
You can follow the same process for other fruits including rhubarb, peach, mango or of course a combination.
Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon.
When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year.
Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles.
Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations.
Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras.
Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade.
To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life.
Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen