Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cook's Perks

In domestic kitchens, even chefs will use bought and bottled sauces, some even make gravy using a stock cube. Even so - let us say we are snow-bound (chance would be a fine thing), and have to rely on what we have, so am offering a recipe for a brown sauce that could double up as vegetarian gravy. No mention in the recipe was given as to whether it would keep, so suggest making half or freeze the surplus away in small tubs.
Brown Sauce:
2 tblsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tblsp wholemeal flour
2 pints (1 ltr) vegetable stock (could be made from a cube)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Marmite
3 tblsp tomato puree
black pepper
Put the oil in a pan and fry gently until transparent. Add the flour, and keep stirring it for five minutes then slowly add the stock, the bay leaves and the Marmite. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the bay leaves and blitz the sauce on a blender until smooth. Add the tomato puree and season to taste, giving a quick blitz to bring the lot together. Use as required.

Here is another sauce, given mainly because it gives me the chance to remind you that if you have no red wine to add to a casserole or similar, then red wine vinegar in which has been dissolved some sugar will make an excellent substitute. Have forgotten the exact proportions, but these were given a few weeks ago. Again this recipe makes quite an amount, so suggest reducing it by a quarter for the average servings.
Red Wine and Sage Sauce:
1 pint (half litre) vegetable stock
1 onion
1 tblsp dried sage (or handful fresh sage leaves)
3 bay leaves
1 pint (half litre) red wine
3 tblsp sunflower oil
2 oz (50g) wholemeal flour
1 tsp sea or rock salt
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp demerara sugar
Put the stock, onion, sage, bay leaves and wine in a pan and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Then strain and reserve the liquid (myself would save the onion to add to another dish).
Melt the oil in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook/stir for 3 minutes then gradually whisk in the reserved liquid. Bring to the boil and add the salt and lemon juice.