I gave the elf chips and ketchup for dinner tonight. Before the pitchforks come out, I will clarify. I gave the elf homemade chips and loaded ketchup for dinner tonight. Loaded ketchup is my new weapon in the war against terrible eater-ism. Not a word, I know. A quick re-hash for any new friends out there. My beautiful toddler, girl-elf, devil child (semantics) decided not too long ago that she doesn’t eat vegetables anymore. She likes carbs. Bread, pizza, yoghurt, chocolate, more bread…you get the idea. Fruit, thankfully, is still on the menu until it’s not. In our dinner-table battle of wills I have resorted to pure, unfiltered manipulation. I am a kitchen ninja stealthily hiding vegetables wherever I can. Today I am hitting the elf in one of her favourite places; the ketchup bottle. Loaded ketchup contains celery, onions, carrot, capsicum, fennel and freshly roasted tomatoes and garlic. It also has far less salt and no processed sugars. Your move, elf child. Your move.
How I didn’t see the potential in ketchup earlier is a mystery. It was literally staring me in the face. I have sat so often unable to tear my eyes away from the elf sucking every last drop of sauce from anything dip-able (also not a word, I know). An experience not dissimilar to watching monkeys pick fleas from each other’s hair and eat them, I’ve watched her slightly disgusted, disturbed and completely mesmerised. She picks up the dipping apparatus, let’s say a chip, dips it in the sauce, cleans it of every last drop and then re-dips until the poor chip lay limp, useless. Whereupon it is discarded. To me. The chip is a gift, a funky door prize at a motherhood hoopla and yes, I am expected to eat it.
So, as you can see, loaded ketchup was inevitable. And simple. It was easy to replace the preservative, sugar and salt-laden store-bought sauce with a vegetable heavy, spice enriched, nutritious alternative. I roasted tomatoes, capsicum and garlic and cooked them in a pot with assorted vegetables, passata, tomato concentrate and spices. Agreed, it is more work to cook your own than it is to pop down to the shops. But, I have to tell you, watching the elf clean healthful loaded ketchup from thick cut homemade chips is deeply satisfying. And I am big enough to admit I am feeling smug. It’s not charitable but it’s true. The elf knows I don’t like her eating chips and sauce and there is an air of triumph about her when she does. So, as she smiles her victory smile, I roll my eyes and shake my head. She giggles, giddy with power, while my inner kitchen ninja hi-fives the air. Ssshhh…
I have made a slightly sweet recipe for the elf using apple cider vinegar. If you prefer the hit in the back of the throat regular ketchup provides, use white wine vinegar and cut the sugar back to 3 tablespoons or so. Start with 3 and add more if needed.
PS. She also had fruit and yoghurt with her dinner. It’s sauce, not the Holy Grail.
Loaded ketchup contains celery, onions, carrot, capsicum, fennel and freshly roasted tomatoes and garlic. It also has far less salt and no processed sugars.
- 4 vine-riped tomatoes (600 grams)
- 1 red capsicum, quartered and seeded
- 1/2 head garlic
- 1 celery stalk, washed and roughyl chopped
- 1 carrot, washed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb, fronds and core removed, roughly chopped
- 2 large brown onions, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup coconut (or unprocessed) sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 cup passata
- 3 heaped tablespoon tomato concentrate
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional for a thicker sauce)
- olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C
- Lay tomatoes, capsicum and garlic on a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast for around 25 minutes or until the garlic is slightly soft. Allow to cool slightly.
- Remove skin from capsicum.
- In a large pot put roasted tomatoes, capsicum, garlic (removed from the skin), celery, fennel, carrots and onion on medium heat.
- Add the passata, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, sugar, vinegar, celery salt, cinnamon, sea salt and ginger.
- Adjust heat to low.
- Season lightly with pepper and cook for around 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add tomato concentrate and stir.
- Taste and season if needed.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool for blending.
- In batches (if necessary) blend all ingredients with flaxseed powder. Store in airtight bottle/jar in the fridge or sterilise jars and store in a cool place for up to one month.