Make Your Own Flavourings
Ready-made sauces and pastes are widely available in supermarkets and specialist shops; but most are also easily made at home.
There is no substitute for home-made flavourings and most are surprisingly easy and quick to make. So next time you want to liven up a run-of-the-mill meal, don't just reach for a bottle or jar on a shelf; try making your own.
Here are some flavourings for savoury dishes:
Korma Curry PasteThis paste is for a mild Indian curry. You need:
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, seeds from 36 green cardamom pods (quarter of a spice jar), 30 cloves,18 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds,1 teaspoon salt.
Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend to a powder. Add 4 tablespoons of water, stirring well to make a paste.Divide into three portions. Freeze for up to three months.
Madras Curry PasteThis paste is for a hot and spicy Indian curry. You need:1 finely chopped small onion, a 2.5cm(1in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped, 2 crushed garlic cloves, juice of half a lemon, 1 tablespoon each of cumin seeds and coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons each of ground turmeric and garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt.
Put all the ingredients, with 2 tablespoons of water, into a processor. Blend until smooth. Divide the paste into three portions. Freeze for up to three months.
Barbecue SauceFor this easy sauce to serve not just with barbecued food, but with grills, meatballs and other savoury dishes, you need:
8-oz can of tomatoes, 2 medium sized onions, sliced, 1 tablespoon dry cider, half a level teaspoon of dried, or one teaspoon of chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper, 1 clove of garlic, crushed.
Boil all the ingredients together, reducing it in volume until it is thick and pulpy. Sieve the sauce or blend it in a food processor. Adjust the seasoning.
Pasta is a great, quick and easy to use ingredient to have in your cupboards. There are plenty of simple, tasty and versatile pasta sauces you can make too:
Bolognese SauceLearn to make this sauce and you will find out how versatile it is with many pasta dishes. The ingredients list is lengthy but the sauce is quickly assembled. Make bigger batches to freeze. You need:
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick celery, scrubbed and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1oz butter
- 1 bayleaf
- quarter pint of red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- salt and pepper
Place the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a saucepan with the oil, butter and bayleaf. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes and tomato paste. Season to taste. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Cool and store for up to three days in the fridge, or freeze as required.
Sauces for Fish and White MeatTo add flavour to fish and white meat, why not have a couple of sauce recipes on standby? You'll find you improve your meal and impress your friends at the same time.
Mustard Sauce is really tasty with fish dishes and herrings, you need:2oz butter or margarine, 1oz flour, 1 level teaspoon dry English mustard, half pint of water, four tablespoons of vinegar, salt and pepper.
Melt the fat and mix in the flour and mustard lightly. Add the water gradually. Mix in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir and boil gently for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Lemon ButterAn easy way to add flavour to a simple fish dish or grill, this butter will keep for as long as ordinary butter in the fridge. It is worth making extra quantities and storing as a block for slicing. You will need, per portion:
1oz butter, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simply cream all the ingredients together and chill thoroughly.
To accompany a special dish of baked, grilled or poached fish, this tartare sauce is delicious. The ingredients are:
- a quarter pint mayonnaise or salad cream
- 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon or chives
- 2 teaspoons chopped capers
- 2 teaspoons chopped gherkins
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or tarragon vinegar
Mix all the ingredients well, then leave the sauce to stand for at least one hour, to allow the flavours to blend.
Sauces for Desserts
Butterscotch SauceTransform a simple bowl of ice cream with this delicious sauce. You need:
- 1oz butter
- 1oz brown sugar
- 1 level tablespoon golden syrup
- 1oz nuts, chopped
- squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Warm the butter, sugar and syrup until it is all well blended. Boil for one minute and stir in the nuts and lemon juice.
Chocolate SauceWhat could be simpler? You need:
- 4oz chocolate, milk or dark
- a small can evaporated milk
Melt the chocolate over a low heat. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk and beat well until very smooth.