Poor little neglected blog. It happens every year – it’s the summer and there’s so much to say about all there is to do out in that glorious sunshine, but I’m three weeks from a three-week holiday and am overloaded on all fronts.
Still, I have time enough to admit that I’m a twat. (I’ll use that word because someone on Instagram applauded me for describing myself as one just last night!). I have never realised how easy it is to make your own tomato sauce – the passata sieved kind. I’ve just always unthinkingly added it to my supermarket basket as you do – or at least, as I do.
Thanks to being pointed to this recipe for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s perfect pizza dough by my blogging/IG friend Mugs Gohl aka @theconstantcook, I now have the tomato sauce recipe that appears way down on that link’s Guardian page. I make it weekly for homemade pizza (buy a stone, I got mine for £15 at Steamer Trading in Lewes and have never looked back) and for easy tomato pasta. It freezes beautifully in little ramekins too and comes in handy for bolognaise and other such kid-friendly standards.
I tend to make double this recipe, but this amount will safely do four dinner plate-sized pizzas. I’ve also hacked the original recipe by using more garlic, squishing it through a press and also using cherry tomatoes – more time cutting, granted, but it’s so much sweeter.
So I’m sure quite a few reading this blog are saying ‘eh? She’s wasting Internet bytes with something this basic?’. But never mind you lot, this one’s for those other idiots like me who have long been lining Loyd Grossman’s pockets with tomato sauce pounds.
500g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced or (I prefer) crushed
Olive oil, a liberal drizzle
Pepper (if your kids can handle it)
1) Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees C (200 if fan) and wash your cherry tomatoes. Cut them in half width-ways before nestling them snugly together cut side-up in a baking tray or ovenproof dish.
2) Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and add a grind of pepper if your kids won’t detect and whinge about it (don’t want all your efforts wasted, after all). Then add small slices of garlic to the tops or if you’re me, sprinkle the crushed garlic willy-nilly over the tomatoes’ surfaces.
3) Place in the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes, until slightly charred, blistery and easily squashable. Remove and allow to cool slightly (unless you’re up for a tomatoey steam facial while doing the next bit).
4) Put the tomatoes in a sieve over a pan or bowl. Push the tomatoes through the sieve with the most appropriate spoon you can find for the job. Put your back into it.
5) You’ll keep doing this until the tomato carcasses look like they’re given all they can. But scrape any sauce clinging to the underside of the sieve into the pan below and then have another go – I promise you’ll get more out of them.
6) Keep going like this until you really have all you can get from those poor tomatoes.
7) Admire your perfect smooth, garlicky tomato sauce. Then use it in a dish, gobble it up and gloat. You’re an idiot no more!
Disclosure: Mugs Gohl, who has contributed several recipes to Little Lewes for Food for the Fam, told me about the perfect pizza recipe by Hugh FW on The Guardian website. I pinched this sauce recipe from there, so it’s his intellectual property, but have expanded on it in my own sweet way. No compensation, financial or otherwise, was offered or accepted for the writing of this post. It’s written purely to help idiots like me to make something nutritious for the family that, unlike commercial tomato sauces, is lacking in sugar.
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