I'd never heard of it before, but a text message from Brigitte, an old friend, had me promising to take a bottle up to her and her husband's hotel/bar next time I visit. She had seen a television programme with celebrity chef James Martin using Hastings Lemon Ketchup, so I looked into where I could find some, and it wasn't easy. Indeed, I missed about 3 'brews' worth, as hundreds were seeking out Hastings Ketchup, I was told that a couple had come down from London just to buy some, but were unlucky! It can be bought in Hastings, eg at Penbuckles in the High Street, or at Rock a Nore Fisheries, though today is announced on Amazon as being sold out! But I now have a couple of bottles...
Graham Ainsley, the local resident behind Hastings Ketchup Company, explains why he developed the condiment in 2013, “I was having local fish and chips with my sons and I really fancied lemon with it. I asked the guy in the shop if he had any lemon ketchup and he replied ‘it doesn’t exist’, and it gave me the idea that I could do it myself.”
A mixture of lemons and root ginger, blended with spices, Graham admits there can be misconceptions about the sauce. “People expect it to be sweet or like a lemon curd but it isn’t as the spices add something different to it. I love lemons and wanted it to taste of lemons, but the mix of spice and ginger adds a nice taste dimension.”
Apparently, it can work well with many dishes, as well as with fish & chips, including fish and chicken dishes, spinach soup, halloumi, and with vegetables as an accompaniment, but I'll let Brigitte's husband serve up my first meal with it, as he is a chef, cheers Tom!
Hastings Ketchup Company website.