Monday, 22 April 2013

Perfect cheese sauce

I often hear people moaning about how their sauces are lumpy so they revert to buying jars or tubs in the supermarkets for their lasagne, pies etc...

I have to say I have never had a lumpy sauce.  I learnt this technique from my Mum, Vera, who in turn got it from her Mum, Bertha.  Shona, my daughter, uses it now when she cooks so it must be pretty fail-safe!

The beauty of this sauce is NOTHING is measured, you taste as you go, when it looks good and tastes good it is ready.  This quantity will make three decent sized lasagnes (everyone likes different lasagne in our house!) so adapt to suit your needs.

What you need:
  • Strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • Plain flour
  • Milk
  • Mustard Powder (optional, but gives a nice bite)
  • Butter (or margarine you can cook with)
What you do:
  • Put a blob of butter in a good non stick saucepan (I use Olive Oil spread, but always check you can cook with your chosen margarine or it will split)
  • Add half a teaspoon of mustard powder.
  • Heat gently until the butter melts
  • Add a tablespoon or two of flour, you will become more adept at how much flour you need the more you make it. 
  • Stir it in well and add more flour until your mixture turns into a lump and cleans the sides of the pan when your stir it.
  • Add a good splosh of milk and stir until it turns back into a lump.  (Don't add too much milk as we will keep repeating this stage to make the sauce nice and smooth)
  • Don't be alarmed if it looks like a stodgy pudding gone wrong, keep stirring, it will come back.
  • Keep adding milk and stirring until you end up with a nice smooth, if slightly thick, sauce.
  • Now add grated cheese and another splosh of milk.  Stir until melted.  Taste - is it cheesy enough?  
  • No?, then repeat this step until it is.
  • You should end up with something that looks like this  (great action shot huh?)

**This was of course a cheese sauce, but to make a fish pie (not in the slightest bit vegetarian of course) all you do is poach your fish in milk first, then use the milk along side some nice herbs (Dill is good with fish) instead of the milk and cheese above (watch out for bones)

***This sauce is perfect for cauliflower cheese too.

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