Make Your Own Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes!

Here is a healthy life hack for you, it will only take a few minutes to prepare and will save you from hidden nasties added to your favourite childhood condiment… Tomato Sauce.

I made this in the slow cooker, and let it simmer away all night. It reduced down to a beautiful, rich soupy mix that I blended together.  I would encourage everyone to try this easy peasy recipe. It has no sugar, no preservatives, no colours, flavours,  or anything else. Just good old tomatoes, and a few other natural enhancers.

Even more attractive about this recipe is NO SUGAR. I did a quick bit of research in my local supermarket on the sugar content of tomato sauces and ketchup. The average bottle had about 1 teaspoon of sugar in every tablespoon of sauce. So for 17 grams of tomato sauce, 4-5 of those grams is sugar! I’m going to reiterate it again, it means that between 23-29% of the average bottle of store bought tomato sauce is SUGAR! Ugh.

Okay, off my high horse and back to the recipe:

slow cooked tomato sauce

Ingredients

10 fresh tomatoes,  seeded and crushed
1⁄2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

Step 1: Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and olive oil in a slow cooker.

Step 2: Season with oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon.

Step 3: Cover, and cook 10 to 15 hours on Low. The longer you simmer it, the richer the flavour  becomes.

Step 5: Turn the slow cooker off between 10-15 hours. At 10 hours it’s really good, but at 15 its even better. Blend together (I used a stick blender) and place in a sterilized glass jar. Let it cool, and refrigerate. The sauce can also be frozen.

 

Beetroot Hommous/Hummus

Following my month of Pure Paleo, I have scrapped chickpeas and was looking for a suitable substitute for a quick and easy dip.

Well, here it is: beetroot!

It’s so simple!

beetroot hommus

Ingredients

2 raw beetroots

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

beetroot hommus1

Instructions

Step 1: Peel beetroot and chop into cubes.

Step 2: Roast beetroot in a temperature oven for about half an hour, or until soft.

Step 3: In a blender, place the roasted beetroot and garlic cloves, process until it has broken the pieces down.

Step 4: Drizzle in lemon juice and pulse the mix. Follow up with the olive oil, and lastly the tahini.

Step 5: Continue to process until you reach the desired consistency. Add more of the oil or lemon juice if the mix is too thick to process well.

Step 6: Serve with vege dipping sticks, as a spread or thin it out with extra olive oil and lemon juice to make a divine and colourful salad dressing.

lunch inspiration

 

Kale Basil and Walnut Pesto

This was such a delicious pesto! Perfect to use as a dip, or double the oil and make it a sauce to dress a salad or to accompany a meal.

Dairy free, grain free and gluten free this one will be a hit for anyone who is vegan, Paleo, raw or just avoiding those allergens.

This recipe is easy peasy- just blend it all together and voila! A dip/sauce/spread in about one minute flat.

Ingredients
2 cups chopped kale leaves, spine removed

1 cup fresh basil

½ cup walnuts

4 large cloves of garlic

½ – ¾ cup extra-vigin olive oil, or avocado oil, to desired consistency

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

A big squeeze of lemon juice

Instructions
Step 1: Add kale, basil, garlic and walnuts to blender or food processor.

kalebasilpesto4

Step 2: Blend well, stopping to scrape down sides.

Step 3: Slowly start to pour olive oil in until you reach desired consistency.

kalebasilpesto3

Step 4: Continue to blend, adding lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy tossed with pasta or as a dip or spread.

kalebasilpesto2

Cherry Sauce – Slow Cooked

Our neighbour called us over to help her with a job in her yard, about a week ago. When we went out the back, we saw a huge tree, laden with cherries. She had pulled the protective net off, and told us to pick what we wanted because the birds would have the rest in the morning.

So, up the ladder we went, picking for about 2 hours. We filled bags and bags with red, juicy cherries and left the branches as bare as possible.

The cherries had never had pesticides, sprays or any other human intervention. The harvest was shared around with the other neighbours and we took a bag home for ourselves.

We spent the next night pitting cherries, and our kitchen looked like a crime scene. Juice splattered everywhere. But after a few more hours of labour, we had a crock pot full of pitted cherries.

cherries

 

We cooked the cherries down for almost 2 days. A few flavour ’embellishments’ were added for enhancement.

We went with some festive and warming additions. Cinnamon, maple, and some lemon juice.

We had hoped to make jam, but the cherries were so juicy and already so sweet that condensing it down even further wouldn’t have done them justice. After 2 days, we blended it all together with the Bamix and turned it into a cherry sauce.

We bottled it up into sterilized jars and we have some gorgeous gifts for our friends!

 

Salted Caramel Coconut Custard

This recipe is so luscious and it goes perfectly with my chocolate quinoa cake. It does have dairy in it (butter) however replacing milk from traditional custard with coconut cream makes this recipe low on diary and high in goodness.

Ingredients

250mL of coconut cream

4 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 large tsp vanilla essence

2 tablespoons of butter

20-30g starch (can use cornflour or tapioca starch)

2 tsp Himalayan or sea salt

2 whole eggs, or 4 egg yolks

For an egg free version, just leave out the eggs and increase the starch/cornflour to 50-60g.

Method:

Step 1: Over low heat, melt butter and sugar together.

caramelcustard

Step 2: Leave it on a low-medium heat and allow it to brown and come to the boil, no stirring required.

Step 3: When the oil starts to separate out from the caramel, start mixing.

Begin to stir now
Begin to stir now

Step 4: When it starts to become a darker colour add in the coconut cream (watch out- it might splutter because it is so hot). The darker the colour of this stage will increase the caramel flavour.

caramelcustard4

Step 5: Stir through eggs, starch, salt and vanilla.

caramelcustard5

Step 6: Continue stirring until it reaches your desired thickness.

caramelcustard1

Regan Makes Mayonnaise in 30 seconds

Regan and I invested in a Bamix hand held blender a few months ago. The Bamix is a quality blender that is both efficient and powerful. We love having it on hand to blend soups, crush nuts, chop garlic, make smoothies- all kinds of things.

bamixmayo4

Gordon Ramsay is an advocate for the Bamix, and uses it in all his restaraunts. He did a tutorial on YouTube for making mayonnaise with the Bamix- and Regan and I were certain it would be the first thing we would make with our new blender. Well, that didn’t quite happen (we still had store bought mayonnaise in the fridge) but we finally got around to making some over the weekend.

Here is Gordon’s video:

Regan followed along with the clip on the laptop, while I took some photos and helped out with a few ingredients. We doubled Gordon’s recipe and now we have bulk mayonnaise. Our one regret is that we replaced the Sunflower oil with Olive oil and admittedly, the Olive taste is very strong and over-powering. To combat this, we added extra lemon juice, garlic and rosemary to try and tame the olivey taste.

bamixmayo5

Ingredients

1 egg

300mL of Sunflower Oil

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

Lemon juice

Seasoning

 

Method

Step 1: Place all of the ingredients in the blender bowl.

bamixmayo3

 

Optional: Add any additional flavours.

Regan added fresh garlic and rosemary
Regan added fresh garlic and rosemary

Step 2: Blend with the Bamix stick blender.

bamixmayo1
It took 30 seconds to turn this double batch into an amazing thick mayonnaise.

That’s it- you now have amazing mayonnaise!

Regan super excited that he just made mayonnaise!
Regan super excited that he just made mayonnaise!

 

Baba Ganoush – Roasted Eggplant Dip Recipe

Whenever we’re at a restaurant that serves baba ganoush, we just have to order it. Not only is it one of our absolute favorite things to order at a restaurant, it’s easy to make, too. Simply roast whole eggplants and let them cool. Then, mix with a combination of tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic and other flavors. It’s divine.

This dip really packs a punch in flavour, and would be perfect for entertaining. It would be great at a barbeque, or as an appetizer on crunchy bread.

babaganoush

Don’t Skip the Tahini

Tahini is a sesame seed paste with a consistency similar to almond or peanut butter. It is often used in hummus, salad dressings and dips. It can be found in most grocery stores. Just look near the international or Mediterranean foods, or even better- in the organic section.

For a Smokey Flavor, Char or Smoke the Eggplant

I put slices of the eggplant in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. After about 15 minutes (at 190*C) they began to sizzle and smoke. Don’t freak out- this is excellent! The flavour that the smoke brings is amazing.

Traditional Baba Ganoush
Yield: 6 (1/3 cup) servings
babaganoush3
Basic Dip Ingredients, plus eggplant
Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplants (about 900 grams)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped (if you are using a food processor) or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
 
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Place eggplants (whole or sliced) onto baking sheet. If using a whole eggplant and prick in several places using a fork. This helps steam escape while the eggplants roast.

    babaganoush4
    I added roasted broccoli to my Baba Ganoush
  2. Drizzle over some olive oil, salt and pepper and place into the oven. Roast eggplants 25 to 30 minutes, or until very soft. Cool until easily handled.
  3. Meanwhile, combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and the salt in a medium bowl. Set aside so the flavors meld.babaganoush2
  4. Mash eggplant into tahini mixture with a fork until somewhat smooth with some texture remaining. Or process until it reaches your desired consistency. Cool to room temperature then stir in parsley and drizzle the top with extra olive oil (if desired- some people aren’t a fan of the extra oil).

    babaganoush1
    Add everything together, and process or mash it
 
Notes and Tips:
1. Additions: I also had some broccoli, which I roasted with the eggplant.
2. Herbs: Experiment with the herbs here! I roasted the eggplant and broccoli with rosemary and it tasted amazing. I also added some corriander to the dip.
2.Garlic: We enjoy the extra kick garlic gives to this recipe. If you’re not sure you want to use three cloves, reduce it to two or even one clove.

Easy Peasy Beetroot Relish

Roast Beetroot Relish

Beetroot relish, goats feta and basil
Beetroot relish, goats feta and basil

I went to the markets and bought a big bunch of beetroots. They had leaves and all! I excitedly looked up beetroot recipes, and found one for relish. I adapted it to become a little less sugary and to have a spiced flavour. Also, I decided to pre-roast the beets to give the flavour more depth.

Our neighbour always gives us vegetable cuttings for our bunnies, and thank her I gave her a jar of this relish. She was so excited, she rushed inside and ate in on a turkey sandwich straight away. She loved it! I hope you do too.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 teaspoons of rosemary

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 3/4 cup-1 cup of brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or kombucha tea)

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • Optional to flavour: lemon juice, rosemary

Method:

Step 1: To roast beetroot, wash the beetroot and place on a roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and roll them in the oil to coat and then bake at about 200*C for 1 hour to 1.5 hours (depending on the size of the beetroot).

I sometimes leave them in the oven overnight to cool and then peel the skin off the next morning. (Handy hint: wearing gloves will stop fingers staining bright pink).

Roasted beetroot
Roasted beetroot

Step 2: Chop the peeled beetroot into quarters and process in a food processor until you get a rough, grated texture.

Step 3: Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil and chopped onion and fry the onion with the rosemary until bubbling and starting to caramelize.

Step 4: Add the sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar/kombucha, salt and beetroot and stir to combine.

Steamy beetroot photo
Steamy beetroot relish photo

Step 5: Simmer with the lid off to drain any excess liquid if you want a less syrupy relish, or if you like it a little runnier- keep it in.

Optional: blend the beetroot relish for a smoother consistency. I just used my stick blender.

Blending
Blending

While the beetroot relish is cooking, prepare your preserving jars.

Step 6: Preheat oven to 180*C and place jars and heatproof lid in the oven for 10 minutes, laying them down on a tray will make for quick and easy removal.

Step 7: Carefully remove and ladle the relish into the jars while still hot.

Step 8: Carefully using oven mitts or thick tea towels, place the lid on very tightly and turn the jars upside down for 10 minutes.

Step 9: Then turn right side up and press down on the “bubble” on the lid and the seal should depress.

Enjoy!
Enjoy!