Posts Tagged ‘Pam Corbin’

Have I convinced you to buy Pam Corbin’s Preserves book yet?  It’s a constant source of inspiration in our house, most recently for this fantastic roasted tomato ketchup.

The recipe is a little fiddly, but well worth the effort – we used up our first bottle so quickly that these photos were taken of our second batch!

Here is our version – modified from the original to suit the ingredients we had on hand and using our preferred method for roasting the tomatoes. There are two stages involved – the tomatoes are roasted and sieved to create a passata, which is then incorporated with other ingredients to form the ketchup.

We’ve also made a version of this using bottled passata rather than homemade, which makes the process very simple indeed.  It was different, but delicious nonetheless.


  • 2 – 3kg ripe Roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • scattering of salt
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C (400F) with fan. Lay the tomatoes on a parchment lined tray, and scatter over the chopped onion, garlic and salt.  Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are well softened and just starting to blacken around the edges.

Now, either process the tomatoes through a food mill or tomato juicer, or push them through a sieve as I did.  Using a food mill will result in more juice, but I was too lazy to wash it up!

Roasted Tomato Ketchup

  • 1 litre roasted tomato passata (or you could use bottled passata)
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 100g brown sugar

1. In a heavy based pot, combine all the ingredients except the sugar and bring to a gentle simmer.  Then add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve, and continue to simmer gently for 20 – 30 minutes until the sauce reduces to a thick ketchup consistency (it will thicken a bit further as it cools). Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

2. Pour into warm sterilised bottles, seal and store in the fridge.  Pam Corbin’s original recipe states that this will keep for up to four months.

This sauce is a surprisingly versatile ingredient to have in the fridge. It’s delicious on sausages and hamburgers, makes a great addition to curries, and we’ve also been using it in a roasted rib marinade (recipe to follow).  Best of all, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a bacon and egg sandwich!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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As I mentioned in our nasturtium pesto post a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been pickling nasturtium “capers”.  Based on a recipe from Pam Corbin’s Preserves, these are simple to process and, whilst they’re not really that similar to true capers, they do add a peppery crunch and tang to salads and sandwiches.

  • 15g salt
  • 100g nasturtium seed pods
  • peppercorns (optional)
  • bay leaves (optional)
  • 200ml white wine vinegar

1. Begin by picking nasturtium pods – below is 100 grams worth from our field of green..

2. Dissolve the salt in 300ml of warm water to make a light brine.  Allow to cool, then soak the cleaned seed pods in the brine for 24 hours.

3. Drain the pods and dry them well.  Pack them into small sterilised jars with a few peppercorns and a bayleaf (the original recipe suggested you could also use dill or tarragon sprigs, as preferred).  Leave a space for 1cm (about a pinky finger’s width) of vinegar at the top.

4. Fill the jars with vinegar and seal with acid-proof lids.  Store in a cool, dark place and allow to mature for a few weeks before using – Pam’s book advises that these should keep for up to a year.

One thing to note – the pods quickly lose their green colour in the vinegar.  The photo at the top shows the freshly jarred “capers” on the left, and two-day old ones on the right.

Pam suggests mixing these with mayonnaise, onion and lemon juice to make a nasturtium tartare sauce.  We’ve just been eating them in salads!

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In our winter garden, there really isn’t much growing at the moment.  The broadbeans are struggling, the seed potatoes still aren’t in the ground, and there are just four lonely apples on our young trees.

The nasturtiums, however, have really taken off! Planted around the base of the fruit trees as ground cover, they attract bees and brighten our day with a lovely sea of green every time we go outside.  We use their leaves and flowers in salads, they’re good greens for the chickens, and any excess becomes mulch for our fledgling vegetable beds.

Inspired by a recipe in Pam Corbin’s wonderful book Preserves, I gathered some nasturtium leaves and a sprig of mint from the garden…

…and blitzed them in the food processor with slivered almonds, a little grated pecorino cheese, half a clove of garlic and a few brined nasturtium pods.  This was all loosened with grapeseed oil and the juice of half a lime, then seasoned with Maldon salt and a little ground black pepper.

The pesto was delicious – tangy and green, with a lovely peppery note from the nasturtiums.  It was perfect on sourdough rye, and even better on Big Boy’s lunch of spinach and ricotta ravioli.  You can imagine how happy I am about this, given that we have a whole bed of nasturtiums growing faster than we or the chickens can eat them!

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Remember these gorgeous President plums?  We turned them into plum jam and plum sauce recently.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a jar of each to the markets and gave them to the grower – we thought it might be nice for him to see what we were doing with his produce.  Last week, we passed by his stall again, and saw the last of the season’s plums for sale at $10/box.  When we tried to buy a box, he very kindly insisted on giving us two for $10, which meant we suddenly had 12kg of ripe plums to process!

After sharing with the neighbours, we turned the remainder into…

…twenty jars of plum sauce, half with the addition of star anise.  Essential as Big Boy has taken to eating this with a spoon!

. . . . .

…two litres of “Plumbeena”, using a recipe from Pam Corbin’s wonderful little book, Preserves. It’s a great way to turn any seasonal fruit into cordial:

  • 2kg fruit (I used 1.6kg plums and 400g frozen boysenberries)
  • water
  • granulated (white) sugar

1. Put fruit in a large saucepan.  I cut the plums in half, but left the pips in.  Pam’s rule of thumb is to add:

  • 600ml water to each 1kg hard fruit, blackcurrants or apples
  • 300ml water to each 1kg stone fruit
  • 100ml water to each 1kg soft berries or rhubarb

So for my 1.6kg of plums and 400g of boysenberries, I added 540ml water (yes, I know, I can’t do maths).  Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until the fruit is completely soft and has released all its juices.  Crush the pulp with a potato masher as it boils.

2. Pour boiling water through a clean calico cloth or fine tea towel, then use it to line a sieve and place the whole thing over a large mixing bowl.  Pour the fruit and liquid in and allow it to drip through without pressing.  Leave for several hours or overnight.

3. Measure the strained liquid and pour into a clean pan.  For every litre of juice, add 700g sugar (or to taste).  Heat the mixture gently to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat.  Pour into warm, sterilised bottles and seal.  Store in the fridge.   Apparently this will keep for several months, but I’d be surprised if there’s any left by the end of the week!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

. . . . .

…and finally, a tempting batch of plum liqueur, using this recipe.

This will now sit and brew in my hall cupboard for the next three months.  I’ll let you know how it turns out in June!

Update: Here’s how the plum brandy turned out!

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