Diane sauce is a delicious accompaniment to any choice cut of meat, particularly steak or chicken. Serve cooked meat drizzled with Diane sauce on top of a potato rösti with a side of garden salad or steamed vegetables.
I serve mine with garlic veggies, fresh from the garden. Tender zucchini and fresh beans and squash if we have them.
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.
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've learnt how to live on very basic (and cheap) staples and I cook from scratch and don't buy prepackaged mixes of anything. I've raised three happy and healthy kids and I believe that food is central to good communication and a happy and connected life!
Close to Home
Tales from the front line of parenting. These were some of the happiest days of my 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.