Home-made tomato sauce

Home-made tomato sauce | H is for Home

Justin doesn’t normally get involved with the Thursday recipes – well, apart from taking the photos! However, this week, he’s actually done the cooking too. Don’t worry though, you’re in safe hands – as he was a chef for about 15 years before re-inventing himself as Mr H is for Home – and he does most of the savoury dishes in our household anyway.

Finely sliced garlic and olive oil in a saucepan | H is for Home Finely sliced garlic, tomato pureé and olive oil in a saucepan | H is for Home

We mentioned this lovely all-purpose tomato sauce in last week’s pizza post. Most people list tinned tomatoes in their store cupboard essentials, but we always have batches of this home-made tomato sauce in the fridge or freezer.

Home-made tomato sauce with basil | H is for Home

It’s quick – only taking about an hour – and very straightforward too.

Home-made tomato sauce being sieved through a colander | H is dfor Home Sieved home-made tomato sauce | H is for Home

It’s so flexible. The addition of ground black pepper and Parmesan makes for a simple yet delicious pasta sauce. It also provides the base for a myriad of other recipes. You can add all sorts of ingredients to it for some wonderful dishes – meatballs, chicken, fish, olives, roasted aubergines & peppers to name but a few. If you reduce it down and concentrate it a little further it makes the perfect tomato sauce for pizza topping. The recipe can be scaled up to suit requirements. You can also tweek quantities to suit your own taste – more garlicky, more olive oily etc… and add other herbs if you like too.

Storing home-made tomato sauce for freezing | H is for Home

We make up a batch of home-made tomato sauce every few weeks and put a couple of two-portion containers into the freezer – ready to grab as required.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Gimme Five: Tumbling tomatoes

'Gimme Five' blog post banner

Selection of 5 types of tumbling tomatoes

Our potatoes have been chitted & planted out, the first of our veg seedlings have sprouted, it’s time to start thinking about getting some tomatoes started.

Our garden (and allotment for that matter) is really shady, a definite no-no for sun-worshipping toms. The sun only hits our back garden from around 1pm, and only at a height of 4 foot and above. We have a tall south-facing fence so we’ve decided to try growing tumbling tomatoes along it. We have a couple of hanging baskets and just bought some hanging grow bags.

Mark Ridsdill Smith aka the Vertical Veg Man recommends ‘Cherry Cascade’ for hanging baskets. In a Telegraph gardening trial ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ came out tops. After some research, we’ve come up with this short-list of tumbling tomato contenders.

  1. Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow’ (10 seeds): £2.25, Marshalls
  2. Tomato ‘Gartenperle’ (25 seeds): £1.49, Crocus
  3. Tomato ‘Cherry Falls’ (15 seeds): £3.19, Mr Fothergill’s
  4. Tomato ‘Romello’ F1 hybrid (6 seeds): £3.99, Thompson & Morgan
  5. Tomato ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ (8 seeds): £3.99, Suttons

Growing our own

"Growing our own" blog post banner

flat leaf parsley and coriander growing on a windowsill

This year we decided to grow more of our own – and we’ve got no excuse, as Todmorden‘s the home of Incredible Edible.

strawberries growing in a vintage terracotta strawberry pot

We have a variety of crops to look forward to in the coming weeks.

homegrown beetroot in vintage enamel breadbinhomegrown peashoots grown in vintage metal bucket

Most of them are growing in containers as much of our garden is paved with stone cobbles. It also makes protecting them from the ubiquitous slugs & snails much easier.

tomato plants growing in a vintage mini greenhouse

We use lots of the old galvanised metal ‘dolly tubs’, buckets and bins.

courgette flowers in a vintage metal dolly tub

The plants seem to like it!

potato plants overflowing from a vintage metal dolly tub just outside the kitchen doorpink stems of rhubarb growing out of a vintage metal dolly tub

Potatoes, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, broccoli, courgettes, squash, peashoots, salad leaves, a variety of herbs – and yes, those are figs.

tiny fruits growing on a fig tree

There’s still a little room for some flowers.

lilac coloured osteospermum growing in a vintage metal bucket

pink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tubpink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tub

Perennials like the hostas, astilbes and lupins return each year like old friends. Although this year’s harsh winter saw a few losses.

purple lobelia growing in a vintage metal bucket

red geraniums just about ready to flower

To these we add a few annuals – osteospermums,  lobelia and the like.

hosta leaves

pink fox glove about to flower growing next to a giant ribbed terracotta urnyoung purple shoots of astilbe plants

We’ve enjoyed working in the garden this year. We don’t think self-sufficiency is here just yet – but hopefully we’ll reap some rewards!