Autumn Sauce Making and a visit to our local FOGO facility

I’m already sleeping better with the soft chill of Autumn coming through our window.

In simpler terms, this Autumn breeze signaled the start of the harvesting season, when the community prepared for the colder winder months ahead. It was a season to celebrate so much fresh produce ‘available’. We now live in a world modified by globalisation and technology where everything is ‘available’ all the time, however there is nothing better than eating fresh local produce which has been naturally grown during the season in which it thrives. You can taste the goodness.


We have been doing our own harvesting and preserving, to mark the start of the season, with a full weekend dedicated to making Grandma’s Tomato Sauce. Pete grew up helping and then indulging in this sauce during school holiday visits to Grandmas.

Our kids have now been involved in this ritual since they were tiny, and so it’s now built into the traditions of our family. Peter even inherited Grandma’s wooden sauce spoon. I’ve been told that’s because he used it the most, however there is a lot of speculation that this was because he needed more discipline than his other cousins. Grandma used to shake the spoon drawer whenever anyone was cheeky.

Be warned, this recipe is certainly a time commitment, however the process is fun, and the resulting sauce lasts for months. (Fresh tomatoes stored for winter). It also gives the gift of a slow family day at home where we can reminisce about Pete’s childhood and his gorgeous Grandma.

Of course the best thing to eat with this is Grandma’s pasties, however I can never get the pastry quite as good as hers. She did have a lot of practice. These were always made to be sent for lunch with the working men, who would have dirty hands, so could eat the pastie and then throw away the end corner. Convenient fast food without the plastic wrap… what an innovative modern idea!


On a different topic entirely, recently our team were fortunate to get an insider’s tour of our local FOGO compost processing facility. It was absolutely inspiring! The team arrived back at the office feeling even more motivated having seen the scale of difference FOGO is making in our community alone. It’s genuinely exciting to be a part of.

Whilst the technology is impressive, with finely tuned inputs and scientific monitoring, the processing plant is essentially allowing nature to take charge and do its magic, just like it has for millions of years.

The first step is a manual one in which contamination is removed. Be kind and check your FOGO bin for plastic bags and contamination, as there is a person like Larry at the other end who manually searches through and removes contamination. If in doubt about an item being compostable, choose the landfill bin.

Then after just one week in the tunnel, which accelerates the composting process, there was hardly any sign of the huge volumes of Compost-A-Pak bags which entered, nor many evident food products, apart from a few pieces of bone and sticks. After another 6 weeks finishing in rows, rich luscious compost is ready for farming and local community spaces. Nature really is magic!

Enjoy Autumn. I hope you get to enjoy a few slower days enjoying fresh seasonal produce.



Grandma’s Tomato Sauce – Just like we remember

Sauce day! It’s a family tradition which we have been attempting to master since before our kids were even born. Each year we have a slow day, where we cook sauce for hours and often tell stories about Pete’s upbringing. With five cousins all heading to Grandma’s every school holidays, there are some great stories.

We have learnt some lessons over the years.

Firstly, cook outside if it’s safe, or you may smell sauce for days. (Both you and any units you share a common stairwell with… whoops..)

Also chat to your local fruit shop, or the fruit stall at the markets. You need the tomatoes to be as ripe as possible. Often a fruit shop will have ‘over-ripe’ tomatoes removed from sale. These discards are treasure! They make the best sauce, and often you will get them for a bargain.

The recipe will make approximately 5 litre of sauce.  We tend to make a double batch in two separate saucepans.

Stage one – The Sauce Mix

I tend to make this mixture independently from the sauce. It’s actually a lovely addition in moderation to beef stews and meat pies. If you are cooking it the day of your sauce making, start with Stage Two and then do this once you get that cooking.


  • 185ml of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Citric Acid
  • 2 tsp Cloves
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 185ml Water

Simply combine all the ingredients into a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir regularly until the mixture simmers. Once simmering, simply remove from heat and cool. Place into a sterilised bottle if you are not cooking sauce immediately.

Stage Two – Hours and hours of Fun!

Safety First – Set up a safe station where you can cook for hours. We choose to do this outside, however the most important thing is to ensure it’s safe, stable, and can’t be knocked over.  It will get very hot.


  • 9 kg of ripe tomatoes (Washed and Sliced) – Chat to your local fruit store to get their ripest.
  • 5 kg of Onions (Finely Chopped)
  • 3 Apples (Peeled and Chopped)
  • 15 Cloves of Organic Garlic (Approx. 100 grams) (Crushed and Chopped)
  • 1 kg Sugar
  • ½ cup Salt

After cutting all the ingredients as noted, place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and apples into a large saucepan and simmer for 5 hours. Stir every 20 minutes.

Cool mixture and then blend.

Add Sugar, Salt, and the prepared Sauce Mix.

Simmer for approx. 1.5 hours stirring more regularly. You will need to make a call about the thickness of your sauce. Placing some sauce on the back of a cold spoon can give you an indication of how runny it will be when cooled.

Very carefully spoon the sauce into hot Sterilised Bottles using a funnel, and then seal immediately. The recipe will make approximately 5 litre of sauce.

Store your sauce in a cooler, dark room.  We then store these for approximately 6 months.

Sterilising is really important when preserving so take your time with this process. Remember, after storage, if your sauce does look or smell strange on opening, it’s best to discard.

What is your favourite family recipe?