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Follow mrlemarquis on Twitter If you want to make a comment but can't find the "make a comment" box, which keeps on disappearing, just send it either to twitter, facebook or to me at: iwmpop@gmail.com , and I'll maybe publish it for you....Only said maybe....! Here's the latest one: (Who IS this guy called Keith.....) "I just wanted to leave a comment to say that (from personal experience), although you get a bit stinky for the first few weeks, after that you don't get any stinkier! And those olives do look nice, don't they? All the best" Keith

hungry?Thanks to Tina Concetta Marzocca.

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simple local vegetables

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The "mothers" of all sauces......

Bouley - DecorImage by ZagatBuzz via FlickrYesterday we talked about making our own "stocks" or "broths"....and I promised we'd look at the "BASE" sauces in mainly French Cooking, but applicable in any countries cooking, just with local additions and preferences.
Actually, there aren't many...... Béchamel, Veloutées, Espagnol, Tomate being the main ones. I intend to deal only with the "white" ones in this article, and later give you some advice on the others.
BÉCHAMEL: Made with butter, flour, salt, pepper, milk and various other spices to taste, the only secret about this sauce is that it must not be lumpy, should have a "sheen" to it, should never "stick" to the bottom of the pan, should never taste "burnt", and the answer to avoiding all that is "elbow grease" - the more it is beaten, the higher a sheen it will have, the lumps will disappear and it won't stick, and the more attractive and tasty it will be! Bechamel is the mother sauce to all such "white" sauces made with milk, such as Mornay (with grated cheese) - Mustard - Soubise (with onions) even "Nantua" (with crushed shellfish - I use the eggs of the scallops and others as well - added). In general, you can create your own variety from the basic recipe, to "accomodate" the meat or fish or vegetable you are serving. A well known one is "Cauliflower Mornay" (cauliflower in cheese sauce) and, generally speaking, the basic sauce is used to cover the article, and then often popped into the oven or under the grill to "gratin" (give a lightly golden, crispy crust). There are literally thousands of varieties. So - just let your imagination go...but try it before serving to guests, and if you can't find a name for it - make one up!
VELOUTÉES: These are basically the same as Bechamel, with the important difference that the cooking juices from the meat, fish, vegetable concerned are used instead of milk, although rich cream is also often used to finish these sauces. Wines and other alcoholic liquids are also used. All the other points still hold good, and these sauces can be better used with specific dishes, such as chicken breasts.
The important point is that these sauces, home made, are so infinitely better (and generally cheaper) than the "industrial" ones  that when you've started, people will not want you to stop - so....be prepared!
Things like these are termed "sauces", but frankly, for a good cook they are "CONDIMENTS" and shouldn't really have the place available either in the larder or on the table...not a question of snobbishness...question of taste and succulence....
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and -of course the most well known one of all...........

Unfortunately there are literally THOUSANDS of them, and they all disguise the true taste of the dish prepare with such care!



MAYONNAISE:


If one wants to, then you can throw the cold sauces in as well, being in essence "white" or light coloured...mainly on the "Mayonnaise" basis, a basic mayonnaise being the starting point to hundreds of other cold sauces.
This link gives you enough information...just click on the sauce which interests you:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mother_sauces   (the "emulsion" varieties are shown under "Hollandaise")
Standard ingredients and tools to make mayonnaise.Image via Wikipedia
"Emulsion" and "Mayonnaise" are similar, but not at all the same thing. One is warm, the other cold...both lead to infinite varieties.....
These items in the photo are what you'll need to attempt making a "mayonnaise"....The secret is having everything at room temperature, a lot of "elbow power" and....practice!

The hot varieties shown under "Hollandaise" are actually "emulsions" made, as for "mayonnaise", from egg yolks, but with melted butter instead of oil.... so don't overcook them, or you'll have some kind of "scrambled eggs"!
Here again "practice makes perfect", and because you are using butter and not oil, it can be rather expensive to have a failure.
Typical serving of Spargel with Hollandaise sa...Image via Wikipedia
It is true that these "emulsion" sauces, properly made, are amongst the most delicious, but they are also the most difficult and expensive....they are also probably the least "healthy", being made from butter and egg yolks - neither of which are recommended for people with heart problems - but then bacon butties aren't either....!
At least a really good "Mayonnaise" should be made from Olive Oil....much better for the health than melted butter....!
Once again, there are "imposters" usable only in an emergency and adapted accordingly......

.........
Don't mistake what I'm saying....a Mayonnaise is a classical dish and needs the classical ingredients, and not all the other things that make it keep-able! Unfortunately, Mayonnaise is NOT a protected species, because, frankly, in the case of the last one above, how it is possible to make Mayonnaise - EGG FREE - is beyond me...The idea may be admirable. to give access to people with dietetic problems access to other things, but does it HAVE to be called MAYONNAISE....?
OeufsmayoImage via Wikipedia












To help you along the way, here is another link to give you some idea of world basic sauces: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauce  (This link covers things like "soy" or "Salsa" and all those other slightly altered versions of the classic French ones)
Pop back in the near future and we'll attack the darker side of the sauces, with all of their little secrets and tips...together with a few anecdotes....

Bonne Appétit...et "a la prochaine...."!



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