NZ Woman's Weekly

Let’s Ketchup

In the old days, they would put corks in the tops of the bottles, then dip the top into melted paraffin wax to give it an airtight seal

Real condiments taste so much better than the ones you buy in a supermarket, but be warned – making your own is quite an undertaking.
When I was in my early twenties, my boyfriend at the time would take me to his parents’ house for dinner and we would always leave laden
with wonderful home-cooked soups, sauces and jams, made from their prolific garden.

By far my favourite was her bright red tomato sauce, which I treasured for weeks, pouring it on sausages, cheese on toast and even simply indulging in tomato sauce sandwiches. Since then, I have been on the hunt for that same recipe, buying up bottles at school and craft fairs and farmer’s markets, but I’ve never found it.

As my tomatoes end their extremely productive season, I urged myself on to see if I could find the recipe and make my own delicious red sauce. In the end, I combined two recipes, adding a bit there and taking a bit here to come up with what I think is perfect. Nana probably wouldn’t have used smoked paprika, but it adds a nice warmth. I hope you enjoy this sauce – it isn’t as sweet as some of the commercial ones and has quite a tang, but it also lets the natural, summery  avour of those tomatoes come through.

If you have loads of end-ofseason tomatoes – or feel like buying them up cheap from the fruit shop – put aside a few hours and give your family the gift of this real, old-fashioned tomato sauce.

My family loved it so much, I’m about to make another batch for them all.


  • 3kg tomatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 5cm piece root ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika (hot)
  • 4 cups malt vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt

1. Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes, putting them into a large saucepan. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic. In a piece of muslin or cloth (I used the section of an old sheet or a cloth hanky works well), put the cloves, allspice and piece of ginger inside, then tie at the top and throw in with the tomato mix.
2. Cook over a medium heat until all the vegetables are soft and well-cooked – about 30 minutes. Remove the bag with the spices and put in the blender until you have a smooth mixture. (You could also use a sieve or food-mill).
3. Put the mixture back into the pot and add the sugar, smoked paprika, vinegar and salt. Bring to the boil and keep it bubbling for an hour until it thickens.
Stir occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, clean your bottles and put into a 100ºC oven to heat up. Take the caps and put them in a small pot of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Take the bottles out of the oven and pour the sauce in while it is still hot. Make sure you haven’t spilled any around the top and screw on the caps.

Do you have a Nana recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear about it. Email me at: or write to
Nana’s Pantry,
NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria
St West, Auckland 1142

One Response to “Let’s Ketchup”

  1. mrsgloverslittleboy Apr 6 2013, 7:34pm

    Never mind all the others… this is the Worlds best and arguably easiest sponge cake recipe…
    Hear we go… Peggy’s Cake!
    1. You will need two sponge cake tins, greased and floured.
    2. Heat oven to 180*C
    3. Using a “Stand Mixer” (you can use a hand held mixer, but it will take much longer”…
    With a whisk attachment, whisk four egg whites with a pinch of salt, until thick and glossy.
    4. Whisk in 1 cup of caster sugar and continue beating until the sugar dissolves.
    5. Whisk in the egg yolks and a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
    6. Sift together one cup of corn-starch, one heaped tablespoon of hi-grade flour, two level teaspoons of Cream of Tartar and one level teaspoon baking soda and whisk into the egg mixture.
    7. Divide equally and pour into the prepared cake tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
    8. Remove from the oven and immediately drop the tins and cakes onto the floor from waist height (the shock finishes the cooking process…absolutely true!)
    9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tins.
    10. Spread the bottom of the top cake with berry jam.
    11. spread a thick layer of whipped cream onto the bottom of the bottom cake and sandwich the two together.
    12. Dust with a little icing sugar.
    This is a magnificent cake!

Irene van Dyk

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