Sadie’s family comes from a property called Newlands in Western Victoria. Her Great Grandma, Annie Macmeikan, passed her recipe down through the family, and it’s now been handed on to us at Fat Pig Farm. This is the sauce we call ours, though it does vary slightly from year to year. You want to make a big batch so you’ve enough to get through the year, and have a bit left over for gifts.
Use your taste as a guide and add spices accordingly. I suspect some modern spices are fresher than they used to get in the old days, and we use less than the recipe, most of the time. For historical accuracy, however, I’ve included the original quantities.
- 1.5 kg apples
- 10kg tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1 kg brown onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 bulb garlic, peeled
- 220g salt
- 1.5L white or malt vinegar
- 30g ground ginger
- 30g ground mace
- 15g cayenne
- 60g ground allspice
- 60g ground cloves
- 2kg sugar
Peel and core the apples. Wrap the peel and cores in muslin and chop the apple flesh. Place both the apples and the muslin bag in a big pot with tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, stirring often so it doesn’t stick and add half of each of the spices, so it doesn’t get too spicy. We tend to vary the amounts of clove, especially, and add more at the end of all the spices if need be. Simmer for about 2 hours, or until the sauce is well cooked and starting to thicken.
Remove and discard the bag of apple cores. Blend the sauce well, return to the stove in a clean pan, and cook down until the correct consistency (which is thick enough to sit on a pork sausage, but not so thick that it doesn’t come out of the bottle!).
Add 3/4 of the sugar, stir well and taste. It should be quite strong in terms of being sweet/sour/salty compared to a soup or a stew. Remember, you only use a small amount each time you use it and the flavour needs to reflect that. 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.
Note The amount of sugar and vinegar can vary because of the variation in tomatoes. I’ve decided to keep the vinegar constant and just adjust the sugar, this way making sure the sauce doesn’t go off as the acid acts as a strong preservative.