Simple pleasures

Homemade smoked tomato ketchup

ketchupBought ketchup is a permanent fixture in our fridge, mainly to go with a certain two-year-old’s fish fingers. This homemade version, however, is a little more grown up. I like my breakfast to have a little kick to it and this has the smokiness of paprika and red peppercorns to give a twist to my sausage sandwiches. The agar and xanthan give it a lovely light fluidity and creaminess.


  • 450g cherry tomatoes, and the vine
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 8 red peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • A dash of balsamic vinegar
  • A dash of red wine vinegar
  • A dash of olive oil
  • A large dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 drops of Angostura bitters
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds
  • A splash of water
  • A splash of red wine
  • A few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • ½ tsp of agar and 1/8 tsp of xanthan powder. Both available in health food shops


  1. Cook the tomatoes and their vines until soft in a heavy-bottomed pan with some olive oil, the peppercorns and a pinch of salt. Squash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the paprika, sugar, balsamic, Worcester sauce, Angostura bitters, mustard seeds and the red wine vinegar, then cook for five minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add a little water if it’s getting too thick.
  3. Strain through a sieve and keep the solids. Set the liquid to one side.
  4. Put the solids back into the pan and add the red wine and a splash of water. Cook for five minutes. Strain this through muslin into the set-aside liquid.
  5. Add the agar and xanthan, bring to the boil, decant and leave to cool until set. With a hand blender, blitz the mixture until creamy and store in the fridge in a spotlessly clean airtight container such as a kilner jar.

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