Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri 3Chimichurri is a garlicky, herby Argentinian sauce which is traditionally served with steaks, so they might have frowned had they known I was making it to serve with tofu.  The real revelation here though was a happy accident.
The tofu was in the fridge doing its thing and marinating away, I had sauce left and I was hungry.  For lunch I had planned to use up a very ripe avocado that had been sitting in the fruit bowl for a few days  Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I remembered seeing a pin on Pinterest of chimichurri avocado on toast.  Somehow I had all the component parts right there in front of me – it would have ben rude not to…

Oh my goodness it was good.  The tofu was nice but this was seriously one of the best impromtu lunches I have ever made – helped no end by the fact that I could sit out in the sunshine to eat it.

I didn’t have any oregano but I did have coriander and that was lovely (if a little in authentic) so feel free to experiment.  Some recipes include dill too.

If you have a little time this bank holiday weekend why not make yourself a proper lunch and take the time to enjoy it?  I promise you won’t regret it.

Ingredients

2 handsful of Flat Leaf Parsley

1 small handful Oregano Leaves

3 Cloves of Garlic

125 ml / 4 fl oz Olive Oil

2 tbsp Red or White Wine Vinegar

1/2 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method

If you have a food processor just put the oil, vinegar and garlic in then blitz until the garlic is well blended.  Add the herbs and pulse until they are chopped and combined.  Finally stir through the chillies before using the sauce.

If you don’t have a food processor crush the garlic, chop the herbs and whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.  It couldn’t be quicker or simpler.  Enjoy with steak, chicken,  tofu or, as I did, avocado.

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Veloute

VelouteA veloute is a classic French sauce; labelled one of the five “mother sauces” by Escoffier it is at the core of lots of French cuisine, but that doesn’t mean that it is difficult.  What it does mean is that it is worth making.  “Veloute” means velvety and that’s exactly what this sauce is; smooth, rich and rather wonderful.

Most of the classic veloute recipes I have seen call for stock thickened with a roux (flour and butter) but this one doesn’t.  I guess you could say that makes it less authentic but it is based on a recipe by Michel Roux Junior and that’s good enough for me.

You can make this sauce with any light stock – just match it to your meal – fish stock with fish or chicken stock with chicken.  At a push you could use a vegetable stock but you will get less flavour.  I made the sauce to go with some whiting and samphire – the saltiness of the samphire and the sweetness of the sauce complemented each other wonderfully.

I poured some of the sauce into a shot glass for the photos and I have to admit I was very tempted just to knock it back in one because this sauce really is that good.  I had a little word with myself and settled for a sip but I would defy you to do the same.

Velote with whiting and samphire

Ingredients

2 Shallots

50g / 2 oz Mushrooms

20g / 3/4 oz Butter

100 ml / 4 fl oz Dry White Wine

300 ml / 10 fl oz Stock (fish or chicken)

300 ml / 10 fl oz Double Cream

Fresh Herbs (optional)

Method

Finely chop the shallots and thinly slice the onions.  Place in a frying pan with the butter and cook gently until softened but not browned.  Do not rush this part of the process – if the shallots are not properly cooked the sauce will taste of raw onion which will spoil it.

Once cooked, pour in the wine and turn the heat up.  Boil until the wine has virtually all evaporated.  Stir in the cream and bring to the boil, simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Strain the sauce through a sieve pressing down on the shallots and mushrooms to extract all the flavour.  Season with salt and pepper.  At this stage you can add some chopped herbs if you like; dill works well with most fish or perhaps some thyme with chicken.  You can also add a little squeeze of lemon juice if you want to lift the flavours but I like the creamy softness of the sauce without it.

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Marie Rose Sauce

Marie Rose sauce can be made by stirring tomato ketchup into ready made mayonnaise but it tatses so much better if it is made fresh.  Using tomato ketchup as well as the cider vinegar can make the sauce overly sharp and overly sweet.  I prefer to use tomato puree and to lift the flavour with a little lemon juice but you may like to try a mix of the two.  I haven’t given a quantity for the tomato sauce / puree because it is all down to personal taste.  As a starting point try one fifth tomato to four fifths mayo – you can always add more if you want to.

This sauce is great in a retro prawn cocktail but it also adds a bit of zing to a prawn sandwich.  If you have any left use it as a dip with some vegetable crudites.

Ingredients

3 free range egg yolks

1 tbsp Cider Vinegar

Tomato Puree / Tomato Ketchup

500 ml Sunflower Oil

A pinch of Sea Salt & Cayenne Pepper

1 or 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice

Method

Place the egg yolks in a bowl along with the  vinegar and whisk to blend.

Slowly add the oil a few drop at a time to start with and as it begins to emulsify add it in a steady stream whisking continuously as you do.

When your mayonnaise is the consistency you would like it to be (it will take all the oil but you may prefer to stop before then) whisk in the tomato puree / ketchup. Season to taste with salt / cayenne pepper / lemon juice.

Alternatively this can be made in a food processor.

Place the egg yolks and vinegar in the mixer.

Blend for one minute then add the oil in a slow, steady stream whilst the processor is still running. When the oil is incorporated add the seasoning.

Tip

If you add the oil too quickly or don’t whisk it well enough the mayonnaise may split. If it does simply break another egg yolk into a bowl and slowly add the split mayonnaise, whisking as you do so. This should pull it back together.

This mayonnaise will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Cheese and Chive Mayonnaise (Courtesy of Nathan Outlaw)

Ingredients

3 free range egg yolks

50g finely grated Davidstow Cornish Crackler Cheddar

2 tsp English Mustard

1 tbsp Cider Vinegar

500 ml Sunflower Oil

A pinch of Cornish Sea Salt

Method

Place the egg yolks in a bowl along with the mustard and vinegar and whisk to blend.

Slowly add the oil a few drop at a time to start with and as it begins to emulsify add it in a steady stream whisking continuously as you do.

When your mayonnaise is the consistency you would like it to be (it will take all the oil but you may prefer to stop before then) whisk in the cheese and chives. Season to taste.

Alternatively this can be made in a food processor.

Place the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, cheese and chives in the mixer.

Blend for one minute then add the oil in a slow, steady stream whilst the processor is still running. When the oil is incorporated add salt to taste.

Tip

If you add the oil too quickly or don’t whisk it well enough the mayonnaise may split. If it does simply break another egg yolk into a bowl and slowly add the split mayonnaise, whisking as you do so. This should pull it back together.

This mayonnaise will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Pesto Recipe

There are all sorts of variations on this traditional basil pesto (pesto alla Genovese) and you can substitute rocket, spinach or even wild garlic leaves for the basil.

Fresh pesto tastes the best but if you have made too much (or you are trying to use up a glut of herbs) it will keep for a week or so in the fridge in an airtight container – you may want to pour a little extra olive oil over the top to help preserve the flavours.

You can also freeze pesto where it will keep for around six months. A simple way to do this is to put the pesto into an icing bag and pipe it into ice cube trays – that way you can always thaw the perfect amount.

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