Holiday season is approaching and I would like to give some tips and inspiration in case you decide to go for the DIY gifts this year. The kitchen is offering plenty of ideas that you can cook yourself and there is nothing better than giving your time (and the time you spent cooking!) to show how much you care to someone. Remember that time will never be back!
I would like to show you a quick and easy idea I made: home made pasta sauce. This is a vegetarian and delicious recipe that you can make in no time if you follow the steps below.
What you need:
- 3 small aubergines
- 1 onion
- 500 ml tomato passata
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp of caster sugar
- glass jars (different sizes but make sure they fit at least 500 ml of passata)
How to make it:
First step is to sterilize your jars: wash thoroughly the jars with dish soap and rinse them well ( and I mean very well or they will taste like soap). Place the jars & the lids in a deep pot, cover with cold water until all jars are covered and bring the water to the boil (IMPORTANT: do not place the glass jars directly into hot/boiling water or the glass will break. Water must be cold!).
After 15 minutes remove the jars from the water, place them on a clean cloth and allow them to dry completely (make sure you do not touch the hot water directly with your hands: use tongues or any other tool that you might find handy for this operation): you don’t want to burn yourself.
While the jars are drying, start preparing the sauce. Heat 2 tbsp of E.V.O. in a pan, finely chop the onion and once the pan is hot add in the onion and the garlic clove. Once the onion has got a golden and crisp look, add in the chopped aubergine and reduce the heat to a medium level. Cook the aubergines for 5 minutes (until they softened) and ensure you keep stirring so they don’t burn. After 5 minutes add the tomato passata, the sugar, stir well, cover and let your sauce cook for 15 minutes on a low heat.
After this time check the taste of the passata: feel free to add more spices/herbs/salt to taste and let the sauce cool down for a while.
You now need to transfer the sauce into the jars: do so when the sauce is still warm and remember to leave at least 1 cm of headroom at the top when filling them. Place the lids on the jars (make sure you do not leave any food stain on the jar rims) and once all jars are closed you need to replace them back in the pot with the warm water that you initially used to boil the glass (again make sure the water is not boiling and the jars are still warm).
Ensure the sealed jars do not touch the bottom of the pot so use anything that you have at home to help you with this (I have used a metal rack that fits the pot). Once the jars are in bring back the water to the boil for 10 minutes.
Remove them from the water, place them upside-down in a cloth and wait for 12 hours at least before turning them back. Keeping the jars upside-down will ensure the jars are properly sealed (check the lids: they should be slightly indented and should not “click”)
Once the jars are completely cool place a sticker and a ribbon and you now have an handmade Christmas present to give away! You can use many different ingredients for your sauce but make sure you write them in the sticker in case of any allergies.