Tomato Relish

"In the orchestra of a great kitchen, the sauce chef is a soloist." so said the great French restaurateur, Fernand Point. What is life without sauce? What are chips without ketchup (and salt and vinegar)? Or hotdogs without mustard? Or god forbid, tagliatelle with no bolognese?!

Wow, it's midnight, and as I typed that last bit my tummy just started rumbling. This is why people should go to sleep 2 hours after dinner; midnight snacks are dangerous.

Anyway, you may ask "What's with the rant about sauce, Nabs?" I'll tell you. I just got back from a short (*sniff*) trip to Melbourne, where every brunch meal I had (I had brunch like every day I was there, oh living the dream) came with a small bowl or a side serving of tomato relish. Le boyfriend informed me that in Australia, people take tomato relish very seriously. Like, don't even mess man, don't go and call it ketchup (omg, Nabs, you friggin peasant fool, you did not just say ketchup!) or ask for ketchup from a bottle, cos tomato relish is the shizz!

I have to admit... as much as a Heinz hoarder as I am - my mum will be the first to tell you how particular I am about always having Heinz ketchup in the pantry - I kind of have to agree with the Aussies. I loved it, every restaurant we went to had it on the dish, but every single one was different. Some added basil, one place had capers, another had roasted tomatoes, and I'm pretty sure one place included garlic while the others didn't seem to.

So the night I arrived in Malaysia, incredibly sad that I had to leave Melbourne at all (I'm coming back for you baby, don't go nowhere), I resolved to recreate the brunches I had there in my own kitchen. Gosh darnit, I will pay the extra 3 bucks for a carton of fresh Australian milk, and I will learn to poach an egg properly, yes, sure I'll make my own sourdough bread too... but most importantly, and here's the thing that ties the whole thing together: I will make my own tomato relish.

Now I have 5 jars of the stuff in the refrigerator, and you know what? I will have that midnight snack (see paragraph 2 in the mad midnight blog rant), and I will slather a spoonful of relish on a piece of toasted sourdough.

Tomato relish is easy enough to make, it just takes a bit of prep time. Or the recipe I went with took a bit more prep time. Remember, there are many different recipes for tomato relish available over the internet, and this was just the one I decided to go with for my first foray into this world. I really like the result, but I'm open to adjusting the recipe to suit my tastes (needs a low peppery note I think), so don't take this as the only recipe for it. If anyone has a personal favourite, please do share, I'd love to give it a try in my search for the go-to recipe.

Tomato relish
Makes 4-5 jars
  • 1.5kg diced tomatoes
  • 3 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup sea salt flakes
  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 500g light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  1. Place the diced tomatoes and onions in a large bowl, cover in salt and let it sit overnight. The next morning, remove access water and rinse the tomatoes and onions with water (so it's not too salty) then move it into a deep heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat, add 250ml of the white wine vinegar (or any light vinegar you have on hand really). 
  2. Allow it to boil then bring the fire down to a low heat and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the sugar and chilli flakes and simmer for an hour. 
  3. Skim the top for access water and remove it (I don't like my relish too runny). In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 250ml vinegar with the flour, mustard powder, and curry powder. Add to the pot and stir for 3-4 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Pour the hot relish into prepared jars and allow to cool before covering with a lid and removing to a fridge. This can keep for 6 months in the refrigerator. 

Anyway, serve it with whatever you like, have it on a sandwich, with eggs, with a burger... for me, I decided to finally tackle that big fear of mine: poached eggs. It took me 7 tries over 3 days to finally get it right, and so despite the fact that I was heading out to see my friends for brunch in an hour, I put that poached egg on a slice of toast and smoked salmon, dumped a spoonful of relish on it and enjoyed that little sucker. Then I brought a jar of relish to brunch for my friends so they wouldn't have to suffer ketchup lol. Let me see if I can master poached eggs again and again... if I do, I'll post a video.

Loads of love,

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