I dread the question and I dread their reaction. I smile brightly in their direction with slightly glazed eyes,
"It's Mummy's tomato sauce!" If I had a drum kit I would roll it. If I had time to put on a clown suit I would.
They fall away from the gate and the whisper goes down the line, "it's Mummy's sauce" (you'd think it was liquid poo, the venom they get behind those 3 words). My feisty number two is not one to mince her words, "yuk! I hate it! I'm not going to eat it".
Pin drop. "That's fine darling, you don't have to. But there's nothing else to eat". There's a chill in the room and the others wonder if Mummy and number 2 will go head-to-head. We eye each other balefully and then slink back to our corners to prepare for Round 2 at the dinner table.
Well I like my tomato sauce and at the risk of sounding strident and a little pompous, it is very good for you! It works on pasta, on spaghetti, as a base for pizzas and is very useful as a soup for weeny, toddlery ones. And they do like it really, it's just not one of their favourite meals.
It also has the virtue of being something you can rustle up on those days when you have completely forgotten that you have to cook tea for your children.
Mummy's Tomato Sauce
1 onion of any size
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste.
4 medium mushrooms
1 red pepper (or green or yellow)
Any bits of sweetcorn left in tins (no responsibility taken for metallic poisoning or other)
1 large tin of plum tomatoes or 2 small
The vegetables above are a guide. If you prefer celery, throw it in. The point of the sauce is that lots of veg gets 'hidden' in it, and that's got to be good, right?
1tsp/tbsp Dijon mustard (gluten-free)
Herbes de Provence (or Basil / Oregano / Thyme / etc) Dried or fresh. Think I'm a bit of a pleb, i've never caught on to fresh herbs.
salt and pepper (optional)
This sauce gets 'whizzed' in a blender or with a hand-held blender. Your choice of cooking vessel will depend on which you possess. Frying pan for the former, deeper saucepan for the latter.
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
- Chop the onions and garlic roughly and put in frying pan or saucepan. Add a glug of olive oil and start to cook on a low heat
- Peel the carrot and chop finely. Add to the pan
- Chop the mush and add to the above. Cover and leave to fry gently for a few mins, stir every now and then so that it doesn't stick
- Slice the courgette and peppers and add to the mix
- Add the dried herbs (or fresh herbs), stir round
- Let it all fry / steam gently in the covered pan
- Open the canned tomatoes and chop them into the pan. Or use chopped tomatoes, but I'm a little funny about tomato skins and can't abide them in a sauce.
- Stir round and add a good long squeeze of tomato puree, about 1-2 tbsps.
- Add 100ml of water (you may have to add more later), stir round, cover and leave to simmer gently for about 15 mins or so.
- Add the Dijon mustard (if using) and about 2 tsps sugar (takes away the acid taste of the tomatoes)
- Taste. Add salt and pepper if using, and more puree, more sugar as you see fit.
- Put into blender and blend. (You might need to add more water if too thick) or use the hand blender. Keep the latter well submerged unless you want a Jackson Pollock look to your splashback.