To slow cook Tommy K or not to slow cook Tom?

photo 3Tommy  K, as we like to call tomato ketchup in our house, was probably one of my favourite processed items. I loved it on chips, in burgers and smothered over fry ups. Anything that I could possibly put with old Tom I would do it. When it came to saying goodbye to him, I have to admit, I was a bit reluctant.

However, since becoming sugar free I have found other alternatives. So here’s my recipe for delicious Tommy K. It does not taste much like the ones you get in the bottle on the supermarket shelf but it’s tasty all the same. All you have to decide is to cook or slow cook.

Tomatoes are strictly a fruit but they are mainly used as a vegetable in savoury dishes. In terms of nutrients, tomatoes are top of the fruit tree and they are a treasure chest of riches. Tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene, a very good amount of the mineral manganese and a good amount of vitamin E.

Onion and garlic are included in this recipe and they have great health benefits. They are thought to be able to lower blood pressure and they can help with such diseases as heart disease and cancer.

Plus this ketchup also provides you with a lot of spices including, mace, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, smoked paprika and bay leaves. All of these spices and herbs help to aid digestion, they all have anti-bacterial qualities, spices can also help to keep diabetes under control and they are known to boost the immune system.

The next ingredient in this ketchup is apple cider vinegar, which in recent studies has been proven to help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels (which may be beneficial for diabetics) and it has been seen in rats that it can lower blood pressure levels. All of these facts could help with heart disease and strokes.

Finally to sweeten this ketchup a little I have added date syrup. Dates promote digestion and they can help to relieve constipation. They are rich in magnesium, a mineral known for its anti inflammatory benefits. Again, dates can help reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease.

Equipment needed

  • Muslin
  • A small piece of string
  • Slow cooker or sauce pan
  • Tablespoons
  • Teaspoons
  • Sharp Knife
  • Chopping boards
  • Stick blender
  • Food processor
  • Large spoon
  • One large sterilized jar


  • Chopped tomatoes 2 x 400g cans
  • Cider vinegar x 2 tbsp
  • Onions chopped x 2 medium
  • Garlic x 2 cloves
  • Bouquet garni (see below)
  • Cinnamon x 1/2 tsp
  • Smoked paprika x 1/2 tsp
  • Date Syrup x 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coconut oil if using a saucepan.

Ingredients for the Bouquet Garni

  • Ground Cloves x 1/2 tsp
  • Ground mace x 1/2 tsp
  • Ground allspice x 1/2 tsp
  • Black peppercorns x 6
  • Bay leaves x 2

Start by making the bouquet garni. Place all the ingredients in a small square of muslin. As I use powdered spice so I like to double up on the muslin. First lay the bay leaves on the muslin then put the powdered spices on top. Once the herbs and spices are assembled, tie the muslin up with the string.

If using a saucepan;

Next chop the onions and garlic and place them in your saucepan and fry gently on a high heat in coconut oil until soft. This should take about 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, cider vinegar and add the bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer on a low heat for around an hour.

After the hour, remove from heat and add the cinnamon, smoked paprika and date syrup. Then leave to cool for about 30 minutes. Once the ketchup has cooled, pour into the food processor or use the stick blender to blend the ingredients together.

Then put the ketchup back on a low heat on the hob and leave for another hour. During the hour, the mixture may start to get stuck to the sides of the saucepan so use the spoon to remove any ketchup. Once the mixture has reach the hour and it has started looking like tomato puree remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely and then pour the Tommy K into a sterilized jar.

If using a slow cooker;

Place the onions, garlic, tomato and cider vinegar in the slow cooker. Stir around the pot until everything is mixed together, add the bouquet garni and turn the slow cooker on to a high heat. Put the lid on and leave for two hours.

After the two hours turn off the slow cooker and leave to cool for around 30 minutes. Pour the cooled ketchup into the food processor or use a stick blender to blend the ingredients together. Then pour the ketchup back into the slow cooker or remove the stick blender.

Put the ketchup back on a low heat and leave for another hour with the lid off. During the hour, the mixture may start to get stuck to the sides of the pot so use the spoon to remove any ketchup. Once the mixture has reach the hour and it has started looking like tomato puree turn the slow cooker off. Leave to cool completely and then pour the Tommy K into a sterilized jar.

Now I realize this is time consuming, but it is deliciously satisfing to make your own ketchup. Tommy K goes with everything in our house, like sweet potato, rosemary and garlic infused chips, homemade pizza and scrambled egg. We normally get through a jar every two to three weeks. I make ours when I intend on spending a long time in the kitchen. For example, when I’m making a roast dinner on a Sunday. Then I know I’ll be around to keep an eye on it.

Plus slow cooking means you can leave it on a high heat for two hours and you do not have to worry about it. Now all you have to do is to decided to cook Tommy  K in the slow cooker or a saucepan.