Diane sauce is a delicious accompaniment to any choice cut of meat, particularly steak or chicken. Serve on top of a potato rösti with a side of garden salad or steamed vegetables.
There is a selection of 'sides' in my cookbook. The meals pictured are served with garlic zucchini.
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tin coconut milk
Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic, sauté until tender.
Add curry paste and spices, stir over low heat until aromatic. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Add coconut milk and stir until well combined. Bring to boil for one minute and remove from heat.
Makes about 3 ½ cups.
1 kg chicken or thigh fillets, diced
1 quantity Satay sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red capsicum, diced
6 green shallots, finely sliced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Heat oil in a heavy-based pan. Cook chicken in batches until browned all over. Remove from pan, set aside. Sauté onion and capsicum for
1 minute. Return chicken to pan. Stir through pre-prepared Satay sauce. Add sesame seeds. Stir until heated through. Serve with rice. Top with shallots.
Between the advent of bottled Asian sauces and the readiness of takeaway Chinese food, I wonder how many people have ever made their own sweet and sour sauce or if they realise how easy it is. The taste is exquisite, with no MSG or any of the other 'additives' that have become the norm in our food these days. Water, vinegar, sugar, pineapple juice and cornflour. So easy, you'll never look back. Serve over steaming hot Hokkien noodles or make your own Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pork.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 tin pineapple pieces in natural juice
¾ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
3 green shallots, sliced
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped
1 cup finely sliced celery
Drain pineapple, reserve juice. Combine pineapple juice, water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. In a cup combine cornflour with 2 tablespoons water. Stir until smooth. Add to sauce mix, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Set aside. In a large frypan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and stir fry shallot, capsicum and celery for 1 minute until soft. Toss through pineapple pieces and warm through. Stir through sauce and cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
1 kg chicken breast fillets, cut into 1cm thick strips
½ cup cornflour
¼ cup water
Oil for deep frying
Combine cornflour, water and egg in a bowl. Whisk until smooth.
Heat oil in large saucepan or wok until hot. Add a third of the chicken strips into mixture, making sure each piece is coated well. Lower into oil, cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper. Repeat twice with remaining mixture. Keep warm. Stir through sauce with vegetables and heat through.
Variation: Sweet and Sour Pork – substitute chicken with pork fillets.
Along with Bolognese Sauce this is another recipe that I make in large quantities and freeze. It's simple to make and fits in well with my bulk cooking and freezing creed. It's all about eating well, even when we're busy and tired. This lovely concoction is a nutritional hit and I freeze it in usable quantities for easy meals. Ratatouille can be combined with cooked pasta for a chunky, fresh, vegetable sauce. I also use it in my vegetarian lasagne. I puree it down and use it as a base for Kofta or on top of pizza bases. You can add a tin of drained and rinsed chick peas and serve it on top of rice. So very versatile and that's what I like in my kitchen!
2 large red onions, chopped into wedges
2 large carrots, sliced
2 large zucchinis, sliced
2 red capsicum, chopped into chunks
2 yellow or green capsicum, chopped into chunks
1 medium eggplant (or 2 smaller ones) chopped into chunks (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Toss the vegetables with oil, herbs, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a large dish for 35 minutes, turning occasionally. In a large saucepan, warm the tomatoes with the tomato paste and gently stir through the roasted vegetables.
Bolognese sauce should be made in large quantities. It's one of those recipes that can be used in many other things, so I always make a very large pot and freeze it in large clip seal bags for later use. I am always grateful for these frozen parcels of easiness when it's been a long day and I have nothing planned for dinner. Or, when I'm just looking for an easy meal. Bolognese sauce is so versatile. You can add a little bit of this and a dash of that; whatever you have on hand. And, you can transform it into many other meals. Add a few spices with a sprinkle of chilli and chocolate for Chilli Con Carne, top with mashed potatoes for a delicious Shepherd's Pie, use for pizza, pasties and pin wheels or use for nachos and baked spud toppings. Will be a winner every time, however you serve it.
1 kg beef mince (or 1 cup red lentils)
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small red capsicum, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
2 cup stock (or 1 cup red wine, 1 cup stock)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Squeeze lemon juice
Chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, marjoram)
Pinch salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
Heat oil in a large saucepan.
Sauté onion, garlic, carrot, capsicum and celery for 5 minutes or until softened. Add mince. Cook further 5 minutes or until browned, breaking up lumps with the back of a spoon or a fork. Stir through tomatoes, wine or stock, tomato paste, sugar and bay leaves. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thickened slightly. Stir through chopped fresh herbs in last minute of cooking time. Remove bay leaves. Bolognese sauce can be simmered longer to reduce liquid content further making a thicker sauce. Makes 8-10 cups.
Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon chilli powder and 425g tin kidney beans (drained) to 4 cups of Bolognese sauce for Chilli Con Carne. Add 1 tablespoon grated dark chocolate (optional) for an authentic taste. Serve with rice and corn chips.
Béchamel Sauce 1
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add flour and combine. Stir over heat for one minute. Remove pan from heat. Gradually add milk, whisking in between each addition until smooth. Return to heat and stir continuously until sauce boils and thickens.
* Makes 1 cup. Increase quantities as needed. For example for 2 cups of sauce, double ingredient quantities: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour and 2 cups milk.
Gluten Free: Substitute plain flour quantity directly with equal quantity of cornflour (make sure your cornflour is derived from corn, not wheaten cornflour).
Béchamel Sauce 2
1/3 cup plain flour
1 cup milk
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add flour and combine. Stir over heat for one minute. Remove pan from heat. Gradually add milk, whisking in between each addition until smooth. Return to heat and stir continuously until mixture boils and thickens. (This will make a very thick mixture).
Life for us has been all about survival on a shoestring budget. I cook from scratch and don't buy prepackaged mixes of anything. I've learnt how to live on very basic (and cheap) staples. I've raised happy and healthy kids and I believe that good food is central to a good life!
I have an unpublished cookbook manuscript that lives on my kitchen bench. This is the collection that I have fed my family from for many years, all made from a core list of practical and economical ingredients. The manuscript is splattered with butter, flour and milk from daily use. It moves between the kitchen and the office as I edit and test-kitchen the recipes.