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You know the joke… from Pulp Fiction…

“Three tomatoes are walking down the street- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, squishes him… and says, catch up!” – Mia Wallace [Uma Thurman]

Ember Yard smoked Basque beef burger with idiazabal and chorizo ketchup

Ember Yard smoked Basque beef burger with idiazabal and chorizo ketchup

I was reminded of it this week because there is clearly a ketchup revolution going on. It started with the Ben Tish’s chorizo ketchup before Christmas which literally transformed a rather basic burger into something oh so much better. That then got me thinking about where else I had an alternative ketchup moment. It has certainly featured strongly on Masterchef the Professionals menus with broccoli ketchup created for the UK show this season and shrimp tomato ketchup on the Australian version. Both were made at the mystery box stage when the contents were from the waste bin. It just goes to show how cost effective such a relish can be. Then I went back to our meal at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and realised that ketchup features strongly on his menu, with both cockle ketchup on the fish main and also mushroom ketchup accompanying all his steaks.

mushroom ketchup

Tomato ketchup started life neither as ketchup nor from tomatoes. In fact it was a Chinese pickled fish sauce called ketsiap which then evolved through Malaysia into ketchap before landing some 200 years or so later into the Heinz version we know of today. The meaty mushroom ketchup is probably more true to the original concept and I guess that’s why Heston chose to focus on that at Dinner which harks back to an historic 18th century recipe. It reminds me of a somewhat senior colleague I used to work with who always had a bottle to accompany every single meal he ate, but I guess under Heston it can be brought back into the 21st century.

Foxlow crop

As if to prove the point, the latest version I tasted was this weekend when we tried the somewhat underwhelming Foxlow restaurant. It is fascinating to wonder why we didn’t get excited about this place. The menu is interesting, the drinks creative, the staff friendly enough and the decor was OK, but somehow the whole experience didn’t connect.

But what did wow was the kimchi ketchup. This little pot of perfection certainly had a kick and was the ideal accompaniment to cut through the fatty meat-centric mains. Talk about finding a ketchup that hits the spot of today’s trends.

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