BASIC WHITE/CHEESE SAUCE
- 20g flour
- 20g butter
- 300ml cold milk
- Salt and pepper
- Grated cheddar to taste, if you wanted to make a cheese sauce
- Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan. When it is melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir.
- This will form a small floury ball or floury breadcrumbs, which should be golden in colour because of the butter.
- To ensure the sauce doesn’t become lumpy, it is important to add the milk at a steady pace. Adding milk little by little, and whisking consistently with a balloon whisk, will make the floury ball at first become more compact. As more milk is added, it will begin to loosen in consistency, and turn into a sauce.
- Thus, add the milk gradually – continue to stir, until it has reached a desired thickness. Season the sauce. This white sauce can be used as it is in lasagne; add fresh parsley, and it can be used as an accompaniment to fish.
- If you wish to make a cheese sauce, maintain a low heat and add grated cheddar to taste. Stir continuously as the cheese melts. This will prevent a lumpy sauce! This type of sauce is a great base for any pasta dish, such as macaroni cheese, or for something like cauliflower cheese.
ITALIAN-STYLE TOMATO SAUCE
- 2 tins of peeled plum tomatoes
- A small red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Dried herbs – either basil, thyme or oregano
- Salt and pepper to season
- Finely slice the onion and garlic cloves, and fry over a medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil until they begin to soften.
- As the garlic and onion soften, add the tinned tomatoes and stir. Add a lid to the pan, and reduce to a low simmer. Simmer the sauce for around an hour, until it has reduced in volume and thickened in consistency.
- Stir the sauce again, this time gently pushing the plum tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon against the sides of the saucepan to break their shape. Then, add either half a tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Add a sprinkling of your chosen dried herb, and season. Continue to cook gently for a further half an hour, to allow the flavours to infuse.
- The tomato sauce is now ready to use – some recipes advocate either blending it for a smoother consistency, or pushing it through a sieve to remove any ‘bits’ of onion/garlic/tomato, whilst retaining their flavours. It is up to you!