On the Sauce

From Ngaire’s journal, 13th April 1955
This afternoon I drove Carol to Kaiapoi and we bought 10 dozen small bottles of soft drink for the dance next Saturday week.  They are 6/- per dozen less 3/- when the empties are returned. I went to Choir Practice this evening.”

Morning tea Stafford Orchard 1965

Morning tea Stafford Orchard 1965

I remember going to the Kaiapoi lemonade works with my grandparents as a child; on visits to Christchurch it was one of the first stops.  ‘Fizzy drinks’ were a special treat in our house, so being allowed to select a mixed dozen was beyond exciting.
I still associate lemonade with morning tea at the orchard, sitting outside the packing shed in the sun, or on the front veranda of the house.

Bottles of sauceIf lemonade still came in glass bottles I could have used them for the sauce we made today. My thirteen year old has been wanting to make sauce ever since we stayed with our friends Ashley and Chris in Canberra last year. They make a fabulous batch every year, and the bottle we brought home with us lasted no time at all.

Sauce making


There are two recipes for tomato sauce in Ngaire’s book – one from Mrs Shasky (a neighbour in Prestons Road), and the other from Auntie Phyllis.  We went with Auntie Phyllis of course, but I reduced the amount of vinegar and added  garlic and ginger root as recommended by Mrs Shasky. Max chopped all the tomatoes,  operated the Mouli and tasted the brew at very regular intervals!

We were a bit worried about the acidity at one point but, thanks to some quick Googling, managed to correct it by adding a grated carrot and baking soda. We’re very chuffed with the result – what’s the point in homemade if you can’t brag about it.

Tomato Sauce (Auntie Phyllis with a little help from Mrs Shasky)

12 lbs (5.4 kg) tomatoes, 6 big onions, 6 big apples, 3 lbs sugar (1.4 kg), 4 oz (115 gms)  salt, pickling spices (tied in netting), 1/4 gallon malt vinegar (1100 mls), 1 large carrot (grated) 4 cloves garlic, large piece of ginger root, 1 heaped tablespoon cornflour, 1 heaped tablespoon curry powder.

Tomato sauce recipesPeel and core the apples then roughly chop along with the tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger. Put in a large saucepan with the pickling spices, sugar, salt and vinegar (reserve about 1/2 cup for later).  Boil for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring from time to time. Add the grated carrot towards the end of the cooking time.

To thicken, make a paste with the cornflour, curry powder and reserved vinegar. Mix in some of the hot liquid then gradually stir the mixture into the sauce.  Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly.  Turn off and allow to cool.

When cool, put through a Mouli and bottle.

Note: If you’re concerned about the acidity, adding Baking Soda will help.  Add 1 teaspoon at a time, checking the taste as you go. Boiling the mixture for too long will increase the acidity.

Another note: I’m wondering if the works at Kaiapoi was Alexander and Co. Would love to hear from someone on this. M

4 thoughts on “On the Sauce

  1. Great! Just the right time for this post: a lot of italians have about finished making their tomato sauce for the next 12 months.


    • Thanks Raffaele! Wondering if I should go back for a couple more boxes of tomatoes. They’re still a good price and I don’t think what I’ve done will last 12 months… It’s such a lovely tradition isn’t it. m


  2. Pingback: Eating like a bird | Cook Clean Make Marry

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