Tomato Sauce Recipe

Easy, basic Tomato Sauce recipe

This made-from-scratch Tomato Sauce recipe uses store cupboard ingredients, can be made in under half an hour, can be kept in the fridge or frozen, and is the basis for many, many meals. It is a reduced puree of tomatoes, flavoured with onions and garlic, which can be used with pasta or in other dishes. It is the one recipe that I have made sure all my children know how to cook before they leave home as, if you have mastered it, you will always be half an hour away from a tasty and nutritious meal.

What you need to know about my Tomato Sauce recipe

This is a very easy recipe. If you have never cooked anything before, you should be able to cook this. The key ingredient in this sauce is time. Yes, time not thyme! You need to cook the onions slowly for 15 minutes to make sure that they are sweet and caramelised. Don’t skip this step. If you cook them low and slow they will have a fantastic savoury sweetness which will make your sauce particularly delicious. You need to keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t burn as this will make your sauce taste bitter. You also need to allow the full 15 minutes for the sauce to simmer uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. This will mean that the sauce thickens and the flavour intensifies. The end result should be naturally sweet but, if you wish, you could add a little sugar at the end if you feel it needs it.

This Tomato Sauce recipe uses store-cupboard ingredients which means you should always have the makings to hand and that you can make it all the year around. In late summer, when fresh tomatoes are in season, I will often use these to make sauce. It is fresh and delicious when made with good quality tomatoes. However, for the rest of the year, I used tinned tomatoes which have a great intensity of flavour. I was once told by an Italian friend that it was better to use whole tinned tomatoes rather than the chopped-up variety because the latter was where the poorer quality fruit were used. Personally, I have not found a huge difference in taste between whole and chopped tinned tomatoes.

This sauce is a very simple vegan recipe. It consists of oil, onion and tomatoes flavoured with garlic and bay leaf. However, there are lots of variations, as set out below.

Tomato Sauce variations
  • You can use butter, instead of oil, if you would like your tomato sauce to be richer. You can also add a tablespoon of double cream if you want it even richer still.
  • If you are in a hurry, you can leave out the onions, start the recipe by frying the garlic for a few minutes and follow the recipe from step 4.
  • You can add chopped celery sticks together with the onion at step 3. Celery is a brilliant ingredient for adding a depth of flavour to recipes and will add another level of taste to your sauce.
  • You can add a chopped fennel bulb together with the onion at step 3. This gives the sauce a mild aniseed flavour which is excellent if you are serving it with fish.
  • Another good variation if you are serving the sauce with fish is to add a generous pinch of saffron and a curl of orange peel (without the pith) to the sauce at step 5.
  • You can add a few anchovy fillets together with the onion at step 3. The anchovies will melt into the sauce and give an extra savoury depth of flavour to the sauce.
  • If you want a bit of heat to your sauce, you could add a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes at step 5.
  • You can add other herbs to the sauce. If you are using dried herbs, add at step 5 together with the tomatoes and bay leaf. If you are using fresh herbs, add right at the end of cooking. Basil and oregano are good options.
  • You can add a dash of wine, either red or white, at the end of cooking. This will add acidity and richness to the sauce. Two or three tablespoons is sufficient.
Uses for basic Tomato Sauce

This recipe makes approximately 1 litre (35 fl oz) of sauce. It will keep for two or three days in the fridge and can be frozen. You can use it as a simple sauce for pasta as it is and it also makes a great basis for a whole range of other pasta sauces. It is also good as an accompaniment to vegetables, fish or meat.

Basic Tomato Sauce Recipe
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Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This quick and easy Tomato Sauce recipe, made from store-cupboard ingredients, is fantastic with pasta and is at the basis for a wide range of other sauces.  


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little sugar (optional)


Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or deep frying pan.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onions and add to the pan.
  3. Fry the onions over a very low heat until soft and caramelised.  This will take about 15  minutes.
  4. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the pan.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the bay leaf.
  6. Simmer uncovered until the sauce is rich and thick.  This will take about 15 minutes.
  7. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.  You can add a little sugar (half a teaspoon) if you feel the sauce needs to be sweetened.


Keywords: tomato, sauce, easy

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with A Strong Coffee and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday,  Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Cold tomato soup
Tomato Soup
Tomato Tart

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Ginger Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)

Easy Ginger Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)

These easy Ginger Biscuits are a bit different from a traditional ginger cookie or ginger biscuit recipe. I think of them as a cross between a flapjack and a brandy-snap. They are very quick to bake, only 10 minutes in the oven, and have a base of oats with sugar and butter, a small amount of flour and an egg. The ginger flavour comes from finely chopped pieces of stem ginger that are added to the mixture. Flaked almonds also give a bit of extra crunch and nuttiness.

This recipe is based on one that my mother used to make. She used candied peel, rather than stem ginger, in her recipe. I am not a huge fan of candied peel and I had a half-used jar of stem ginger left over from Christmas so I decided to try make a ginger-flavoured version. I was also looking for a baking recipe that did not use a lot of flour as I am finding it hard to get hold of this at the moment.

These Ginger Biscuits have a subtle ginger flavour which even those who are not big ginger fans seem to like. The biscuits themselves are chewy with a bit of crunch around the edges and are sweet and buttery.

Things you need to know about these Ginger Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)
  • They are very quick and easy to make. Just mix all the ingredients together and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • The only slightly tricky stage is getting the cooked biscuits off the baking tray. The key is to make sure that the baking tray is very well greased and that you do not try and take the biscuits off immediately they come out of the oven (they will be too soft) or leave it too long (they will be welded to the baking tray!). If you leave it for about 5 minutes, that is just about right and it should be quite straightforward to get them off.
  • Don’t leave out the pinch of salt. It makes a big difference to the taste of the biscuits as it balances out the sweetness.
  • They are very versatile. Have them with a cup of morning coffee or afternoon tea. Add them to lunch boxes. Or they are also a very nice addition to a bowl of ice cream.
  • I used stem ginger for this recipe. This is candied ginger in its own syrup which you can buy in most supermarkets. It is one of my favourite ingredients as a little goes a long way and, in addition to the globes of sweet ginger, you can also use the syrup as a flavouring. However, if you do not have stem ginger to hand, you could use pieces of crystallised ginger which can be found in the baking aisle in most supermarkets.
  • If ginger is not your thing, you could substitute the stem ginger for the same amount of mixed peel. Or you could just leave out the ginger and you would still have a delicious, oaty, buttery biscuit.
Other teatime treats

If you are a fan of ginger, you might like my Ginger and Pear Cake or Gingerbread Loaf Cake . If you are in the mood for a different kind of biscuit, you could try my Lavender Shortbread or Lemon Biscuits. Or if you are a savoury kind of person then Cheese Biscuits might hit the spot. I also have a lot of recipes for very easy loaf cakes including St Clement’s Cake, Apple Cake, Coconut Cake, Blood Orange Cake, Cherry and Almond Cake, Earl Grey Cake, Latte Cake with Salted Caramel, Lavender Cake, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Rhubarb Crumble Cake and Rum Banana Bread.

Ginger Biscuits
How to make Ginger Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)

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Ginger Biscuits

Ginger Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: About 30 biscuits or cookies 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These quick and easy Ginger Biscuits (or Ginger Cookies) are crisp and buttery with a subtle note of ginger.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 100 g (4 oz) rolled oats

  • 100 g (4 oz) soft brown sugar

  • 100 g (4 oz) caster sugar

  • 1 tablespoon flour

  • 25 g  (1 oz) flaked almonds
  • Salt

  • 100 g (4 oz) butter

  • 1 egg
  • 50 g (2 oz) stem ginger

     


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 170 C, 325 F or Gas Mark 3.
  2. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.  Pour half a teaspoon of vegetable oil onto each sheet and spread over the entire surface using your fingers or a pastry brush.
  3. Put the rolled oats, soft brown sugar, caster sugar, flour, almonds and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Melt the butter in a microwave or in a small saucepan.  Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients.  Then stir in the egg.
  5. Finely chop the stem ginger and add it to the mixture.
  6. Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets making sure that you leave a four centimetre gap between each one as they will spread out when they are in the oven.
  7. Put the baking sheets into the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool on them for five minutes before removing them with a palette knife or spatula.  Place them on a baking rack to cool completely.

Ginger Biscuits


Keywords: biscuits, cookies, ginger, easy

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Recipes Made Easy and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and Antonia @ Zoale.com and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.
Lavender shortbread, lavender cookies, lavender biscuits, lavender hearts
Lavender shortbread
Ginger and Pear Cake
Ginger and Pear Cake

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Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

These Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam are really quick and easy to make and combine a delicious, gooey cheesiness with the hot-sweet punch of the jam. I think cheese and chilli is a flavour combination made in heaven! You can use either shop-bought or home-made Chilli Jam for this recipe. If you want to make your own, have a look at my really easy Chilli Jam recipe.

I have always made quite a lot of sweet muffins as they lend themselves to seasonal flavours and adaptations – such as my Blackberry Muffins – but I had not made many savoury muffins until recently. Now I make a lot of plain Cheese Muffins – they are my school lunch box salvation on many occasions – but decided to try and make a more adult version. These Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam are the result. However, if you are cooking for non-chilli lovers, you can use this recipe to make plain Cheese Muffins – just don’t add the Chilli Jam.

Gotta love a muffin..

Muffins are the perfect introduction to baking for anyone who lacks confidence in their baking skills. The method is really easy (just combine the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients) and also very quick (20 minutes to cook). This means you can pretty much whip up a batch of muffins whenever you are in the mood! This is good as the only issue with home-made muffins is that they must be eaten fresh. In my opinion, the best time to eat a muffin is when it is still warm from the oven. Otherwise, you need to eat them within a day or so as they will get stale pretty quickly.

Lovely Chilli Jam

I love Chilli Jam. It packs a chilli punch, tempered with sweetness, and is fantastic as a condiment as well as an ingredient. I use it a lot in sandwiches (particularly good with cheese and also hummus) but it is also great with roasted sweetcorn or drizzled onto baked potatoes with a dollop of sour cream.

I make my own Chilli Jam and will sometimes use it in these muffins. However, if I do not have any home-made chilli jam, I will use ready-made and this works really well too. I particularly like the Garlic Jame with Chilli produced by the Garlic Farm which has the additional benefit of garlic flavour too. The heat of these muffins will depend on the the strength of the chilli jam so choose one according to your chilli tolerance.

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Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam are really quick and easy to make and combine a delicious, gooey cheesiness with the hot-sweet punch of the jam.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 275 g self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 250 ml milk
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 1 large sprig of thyme
  • 75 g of strongly flavoured cheese (I generally use cheddar or a mixture of 50g cheddar and 25g gruyere)
  • Chilli Jam – (I have a really easy recipe to make Chilli Jam but shop-bought is great too)

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 C/180F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin.
  3. Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the egg, milk and melted butter.  Stir to combine.
  5. Remove the leaves from the sprig of thyme, roughly chop them and add them to the mixture.
  6. Finely grate the cheese and stir into the mixture.
  7. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the muffin mixture into each of the lined holes in your muffin tray.  
  8. Make an indentation in each portion of muffin mixture and add a spoonful of chilli jam.
  9. Put the muffin tray in the oven and bake the muffins for 20 minutes until they are risen and golden.
  10. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for five minutes before taking them out of the tin.

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam


Notes

If you don’t have shop-bought liners, you can easily make your own by cutting baking parchment into squares and using a small jar or tin to mould each square into the hole in the tin before adding the mixture.

If you are cooking for non-chilli lovers, you can just leave out the Chilli Jam and then you have a straightforward gooey cheesy muffin.

Keywords: muffins, cheese, chilli, easy,

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare at Recipes Made Easy and #Baking Crumbs at Jo’s Kitchen Larder and Apply to Face Blog and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and Antonia @ Zoale.com 

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Butternut Squash Hummus

Home-made Butternut Squash Hummus recipe

If you like traditional hummus, Butternut Squash Hummus takes things to the next level! This healthy recipe combines the sweetness and nutritional goodness of butternut squash with the traditional hummus ingredients of chickpeas, tahini and olive oil. The squash also gives the hummus a fantastic, rich yellow colour!

Hummus has become increasingly popular as a snack or lunch-box staple in recent years. If you have only ever eaten ready-made hummus, it is time to try making your own. It is very easy to make, tastes great and you know what is in it – no additives here.

I used Butternut Squash Hummus as a dip or a filling for sandwiches or flatbread. You can add chopped herbs, such as parsley or coriander, if you like. I also sometimes sprinkle dukkah on the top.

Dukkah is a crunchy Middle Eastern mixture of nuts, generally hazelnuts, and seeds such as sesame, coriander and cumin. Ready-made dukkah can be purchased in many supermarkets. You can also make your own – there is a good recipe on All Recipes.

If, like me, you love Butternut Squash, there are lots of other ways you can use it in addition to Butternut Squash Hummus such as Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Soup, Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage or Filo Triangles with Butternut Squash and Pinenuts.

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Butternut Squash Hummus

Butternut Squash Hummus

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 as a starter 1x
  • Category: Starter
  • Cuisine: British

Description

This home-made Butternut Squash Hummus combines the rich sweetness of butternut squash with the traditional flavours of chickpea and tahini.   


Scale

Ingredients

  • Half a butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can of chickpeas (240 g drained weight) 
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice the butternut squash.  
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the diced squash, season with salt and pepper and cook gently for  20 minutes until soft and caramelised.
  3. Add the crushed cloves of garlic to the pan and cook of a further five minutes.
  4. Place the butternut squash and garlic mixture in a blender.  Add the chickpeas (retaining a few for decoration, if wished), tahini, lemon juice and Greek yogurt, if using, and process until smoothe.  If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of water to thin it out.
  5. Remove from the blender to a bowl and  season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve topped with reserved chickpeas.  

Notes

This recipe is vegan if the Greek yogurt is omitted.

Keywords: hummus, butternut squash

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Blood Orange Cake

Easy, zesty Blood Orange Cake

This Blood Orange Cake makes the most of the unique flavour of Blood Oranges. These oranges are only in season for a short time but they brighten up the dull winter months of January and February. They are the most flamboyant citrus fruit, with skin coloured purple and orange like an Athena poster sunset and a deep red flesh. Even their pink juice is pretty!

There are a number of different varieties of Blood Orange but, in general, they have a stronger and sharper taste than ordinary oranges which makes them a fantastic flavouring in cakes and puddings. This Blood Orange cake is a twist on a traditional Lemon Drizzle Cake and makes the most of the fruit’s intense, orange sharpness. I have decorated my cake with dark red Candied Blood Orange Slices which add an intense marmalade flavour.

Due to their pigments, Blood Oranges also contain greater amounts of anti-oxidants than other oranges. I think that they are best used in dishes where they can add colour as well as flavour. Traditionally, they are used in winter salads in Sicily, combined with fennel, and also to make ruby coloured orange sorbet. Blood Orange juice is also a great addition to cocktails giving them a pretty pink colour combined with a citrus kick of flavour.

I sometimes make Candied Blood Orange Slices to decorate the top of this cake. They are easy to make, look attractive and the left-over syrup is great in cocktails!

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Blood orange cake

Blood Orange Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Blood Orange Cake is very simple to make and uses seasonal Blood Oranges which have an intense flavour and beautiful purple and orange colour.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 blood orange
  • 100 g icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.

  2. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.

  3. Cream the butter with the sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)

  4. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.

  5. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.

  6. Add the milk and the grated zest of your blood orange.

  7. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.

  8. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

  9. While the cake is baking, combine the juice from your blood orange with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.

  10. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.

  11. Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing.   If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.

  12. You can just leave it there – and I usually do!  However, if you want to decorate the cake further, you can add some Candied Blood Orange Slices.


Notes

Blood Oranges are in season in January and February.  If you cannot find any in the shops, you can use ordinary oranges.

Keywords: blood orange, cake,

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