Mr 4 was up early this morning. I’m not sure exactly what time it was when Stew nudged me awake. But there were calls of “Muuuummmmmeeeeee”and then Mr 7 saying “shush, I’m still asleep”. Needless to say he wasn’t for long. Once Mr 4 is up the house is up!
The early start meant he wasn’t his usual chatty self on the drive home from school drop off. We did the whole drive without a single obscure and hard to answer question. Questions like “Why doesn’t the sun go out?” and “Why did God call cake, cake?” Today he just asked for the music on and sat in almost silence.
He wasn’t interested in playing lego or colouring. When I asked him if he wanted to do some drawing he replied with:
“I’m very tired. Can I have a movie on? That is all I can manage.”
So we sat on the couch and watched ‘Monster’s University’. Once it was finished he was all set to ask for another movie, so instead we moved to the kitchen and got cooking. Homemade barbecue sauce.
All was going well, he was stirring, we were chatting and the sauce was ready for blending. And here it got messy! Anyone who has used a stick blender before will know that if they aren’t completely submerged, you get some splattering. Well guess what happens when a 4 year old has a go! He pulls it out of the sauce and it goes everywhere! Seriously everywhere. He was covered, I was covered, the wall was covered, the cooker was covered and the bench top was covered! It looked like a horror movie in our kitchen. But Mr 4 didn’t stop laughing for at least 10 minutes! And all afternoon he has been saying “Mummy, remember when we made barbecue sauce”.
He loved barbecue sauce before, and he loves it a little bit more now.
I know making your own barbecue sauce seems a little extreme but I promise you this has such an amazing flavour, that you will never want to go back to shop bought sauce again.
The beauty of making it yourself is you can adapt the flavour to your own tastes. Like your barbecue sauce sweet, add 2 tablespoons of honey. Like it spicy add two chopped chillies to the onion and garlic. Like a sharp vinegary sauce, splash in extra apple cider vinegar. To add a sweet fruity hit, you could try using pineapple juice instead of apple juice. Endless possibilities.
This will keep in the fridge for a week, but you can pour it into sterilised jar/bottles and keep it for 4-6 months. This is how I sterilise jars. Just remember put hot liquid into hot jars. Never mix cold jars and hot liquid or hot jars and cold liquid. It will be a disaster. Even more of a disaster than giving a stick blender to a four 4 year old!
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Homemade Barbecue Sauce
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh coriander
- 300 ml water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel
- 3 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 250 g raw sugar
- zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 7 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 200 ml apple juice
- Finely chop the the onion and garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until starting to turn translucent, add the salt and turn the pan to a low heat.
- Pull the leaves from your lemon thyme sprigs and roughly chop the coriander.
- Add the herbs to the onion mix and give it a good stir.
- Pour in the water, add the bay leaves, ground fennel and smoked paprika.
- Add the sugar and stir gently until dissolved.
- Add the zest and juice of the oranges.
- Stir in the apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and apple juice.
- Leave the sauce on a low heat and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and use a stick blender to puree your sauce.
- If you want a smooth sauce then you can pass it through a sieve but I like the texture of this as it is.