My family comes from a property called Newlands in western Victoria. My great-grandma, Annie Macmeikan, passed her recipe down through the family. It’s still being made by my dad, and has been handed down to Matthew and me at Puggle Farm and now Fat Pig Farm. This is the sauce we call ours, though it does vary slightly from year to year. We like to make it in very large batches to use throughout the year but I've scaled down for the home cook.
This is my great-grandma’s tomato sauce, which we make at Fat Pig Farm.
- 160 g apples
- 1.15 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 115 g onions, peeled and chopped
- 7 g garlic, peeled
- 30 g salt
- 215 ml white vinegar
- 15 g fresh ginger, grated
- 4 g ground mace
- 2 g cayenne pepper
- 7 g ground allspice
- 7 g ground cloves
- 225 g white sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes about 1.5 litres
Peel and core the apples. Wrap the peel and cores in muslin, and chop the apple flesh. Place in a big pot.
Add the tomato, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar and ginger. Bring to a simmer, stirring often so it doesn't stick.
Add the spices, perhaps only half of each of one so it doesn't get too spicy. We tend to vary the amounts of spices, especially clove, adding more at the end if need be.
Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the sauce is well cooked and starting to thicken.
Blend well, return to the stovetop and cook down until the correct consistency.
Add three-quarters of the sugar, stir well and taste. It should be quite strong in terms of sweet/sour/salty compared to a soup or a stew. Remember, you only use a small amount each time you use it. Adjust the seasoning and spices as you see fit.
When ready, pour into sterilised bottles or jars. (Remember, glass will crack if it changes temperature too rapidly, so hot liquid should go into warmed jars.) Seal the bottles and it should keep well for at least a year, if not two or three.
• The amount of sugar and vinegar will vary because of the variation in tomatoes. I’ve kept the vinegar constant and just adjusted the sugar, to make sure the sauce doesn’t go off and is safe to eat.
• To sterilise bottles, make sure they are squeaky clean. A dishwasher will sterilise them. If handwashing, place in cool water and bring to the boil. When the water boils, the bottles are sterilised.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok. Creative concept by Belinda So.