Monday, 2 May 2011

Basic Tomato Sauce

Ever on the look out for a different way of doing things, a different recipe a different approach  to things, I came upon this recipe from a wonderful book called "The Complete Book of Herbs" by Nerys Purchon ISBN No 1-85605-308-3.  This book really is worth the investment and is one of my nicer herb books.  For those of you wanting a copy Abebooks have them at the moment at relatively cheap prices.

I for the past few years have been able to bottle my own tomato sauce ready for use in the kitchen during the year and especially through the winter months.  I learnt to bottle with the support of some wonderful ladies at the Creative Living forum who were incredibly helpful and supportive to me, especially Kate, Sarah, Leanne and Jenny. Go on check them out here.

I had done all sorts of other preserving but not the bottling, but they made it simple for me and I haven't looked back.  I sort of use a recipe which is a cross between the one that Kate gave me and the Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall one from the River Cottage Preserves book by Pam Corbin.

However I am always mindful that not everyone has access to doing this type of preserving and therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find this recipe which I think everyone will find accessible. To those who just have a freezer, to those of us who bottle, it adds some good ways of pepping up the basic tomato sauce, but it also helps the cook who only has access to tinned tomatoes.

This sauce makes approximately 16 fl oz

To quote:

"This basis sauce is the foundation for several sauces. It can be made in bulk and frozen in small amounts, ready to be converted into Mexican, Italian Indian or herb sauce by adding the appropriate herbs and spices.  To make a richer sauce, substitute red wine for some of the stock"


2 onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
425g/14 oz can tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 cup/250ml/8 fl oz stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and garlic and olive oil until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered until thickened.


Herb:   Add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs of your choice.
Italian: Add 1 bay leaf before simmering and 1 tablespoon each of chopped basil and 
           oregano before serving.

Indian: Saute 1 tablespoon curry powder with the onions and garlic
Mexican:  Add cumin fresh coriander and chilli to taste.

Now that's what I call a versatile sauce.

For those of you who bottle or freeze you can carry on using your regular recipe, just pep it up with the addition of the herbs and spices when it actually comes to warming through and cooking.  It works out much cheaper to prepare your own, especially if you get an offer on cheap vine tomatoes or grow your own.


  1. Happy, happy birthday Tricia! Hope you have a wonderful day, may your dreams come true :o)
    Rose H

  2. Thank you Rose - not sure quite what's in store for tomorrow as am at work during the day. Will play catch up later in the day as am off to my mum's early evening

    Take care




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