I adore sundried tomatoes. I can, and sometimes do, eat them with mozzarella and olives, smothered in their flavoursome olive oil, perhaps with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. They are an absolute treat.

It is no secret amongst my friends that I am always penny pinching whilst trying not to compromise on flavour, and one way I do this is to make my own sundried tomato paste. Sundried tomato paste is utterly beautiful, but alas, it doesn’t last long in my house and it isn’t the cheapest thing to buy.

So here we have my compromise agreement. Using your ‘bog standard’ cheapest supermarket tomato puree and pepping it up.

You will need a processor or blender and 

200g Tube tomato puree

Jar of sundried tomatoes in oil ( separate the tomatoes from the oil- reserve the oil)

1 tsp garlic puree

1/2 tbsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

20 rinsed capers

1 tsp sugar


Put everything bar the oil into a food processor and blitz. Add a tbsp of the sundried tomato oil and blitz again. From this point depending on your concerns regarding oil you can carry on putting some in ( i used 3 tbsp) or you can add water, adding a little at a time and blitzing in between until you are happy with the consistency. It should be a little looser than your bog standard tomato puree.

Spoon it all into a jar, cover the top with oil and pop in the fridge. It keeps for ages. Alternatively you can freeze some ( I use an ice cube tray for this, as I do with my pesto).

I use this paste as a pizza sauce, add dollops to cooked pasta, drop it into chillies,bolognese and lasagne. Spread it onto garlic bread, or use it in your toasties. It is very versatile. You could add olives or anchovies too if you like. Make it your own.

The sundried tomato paste I used to buy is 93p per 100 grams. ( GIA brand- which is lovely) My paste works out at 37p per 100 grams. ( using Asdas own puree, Asdas own sundried tomatoes in oil and my store cupboard ingredients which I included in the costing)

As a bonus you will still have some sun dried tomato oil left in the jar to use for another dish. Always save your oil, including anchovy oil, there is so much flavour packed into them. It is also pointless throwing it away then going out buying olive oil at a later date. Use it to drizzle on salads or garlic breads. Use it for cooking but please make sure the oil flavour is compatible with the dish you are making. You could also put cloves of peeled garlic or herbs into the oil, letting them infuse together beautifully.

Do not be afraid to try a ‘mock up’ version of something you find expensive. The ingredients are always listed in order of quantity, which gives you a guide as to how much or how little to add of each thing. Experiment, and remember, you are making this to your own liking, and we all have different taste buds.