Ketchup, Catsup, Catch up on Condiments

It’s Monday, so once again I have a DIY Don’t Buy idea for you. It’s still tomato season, so let me ask, how do you feel about ketchup? Steak sauce? Heinz 57 or HP? I made this condiment, which is quite fantastic, but I can’t quite call it any of the above.

Homemade Ketchup

Let me explain more. I was browsing my favorite Jamie Oliver cookbook when I found the ketchup recipe. Do you guys know Jamie Oliver? I absolutely adore him! He’s the genius chef who always inspires me to get my ass into the kitchen and make some tasty food. Everything he does seems effortless.

After watching him enough over the years, I’ve completely subscribed to his theory of getting into the kitchen and making deliciousness happen. It’s not magic though; it’s just mixing the right combination of ingredients together and not stopping at what the recipe says. Taste it and change it into what you want it to be.

Back to ketchup. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the store bought bottles of the stuff. Once in awhile I’ll put some on some fries, but really, that’s it for me and ketchup. The kids eat it occasionally, but none of us are huge fans. Anyway, I was already planning on making sriracha that day. I remember watching Jamie make his ketchup when Jamie At Home was airing episodes on tv (I really miss that show), so I figured I’d go ahead and make the ketchup at the same time. Why not try it out?

Ketchup Prep

So, after I followed the recipe it didn’t taste exactly how I wanted it to – I blame it on the tomatoes I used. I made a few adjustments, which I’ll note in the recipe portion here, and came up with this concoction. It’s probably more like a cross between a ketchup and steak sauce or Heinz 57 than an actual straight ketchup. It’s a wonderful sauce and will be exceptional on a burger!

Ketchup in the making

Over the next couple weeks I plan on making another batch. Jamie says it will keep in the fridge for 6 months, so I think we can make a bunch now and enjoy it all winter long. I know we’ll be using this much more than the store bought stuff.


Ketchup-y Sauce
Recipe type: condiment
This ketchup-y sauce is so good!
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ bulb fennel, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly diced
  • ½ fresh red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • Jamie says 1 kg yellow, orange or green tomatoes, chopped, or 500g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 500g tinned plum tomatoes I didn’t have that handy, so I used 2 lbs fresh roma tomatoes
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup soft brown sugar
  • I also added
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Put a couple Tbsp olive oil in big saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, fennel, celery, ginger, chili pepper, basil stalks, coriander seeds and cloves, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook for 15 minutes until veggies are softened. Add tomatoes and 1 ½ cups water. Bring to boil and simmer for an additional 20 minutes or so, until sauce reduces.
  3. Add basil leaves and whiz in food processor until smooth, then push it through a sieve twice. Put sauce back in pan and add vinegar and sugar. Turn heat on medium and once it is simmering, taste it and adjust seasoning (this is when I added the tomato paste, brown sugar and salt.). If you think it needs tomato paste, remember that will thicken it up a little. Either way, simmer until it thickens to the consistency of ketchup.
  4. Spoon or pour ketchup through sterilized funnel into sterilized bottles and seal tightly. Place in back of the fridge until needed - Jamie says it will keep for 6 months. I think mine will be gone long before then.


So, now you know about my favorite chef, and where I turn to when I need a bit of inspiration in the kitchen. I’d love to know if you have a favorite chef or something that really inspires you to get into the kitchen and make the yumminess happen. Surely I can’t be the only one, right? 


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