Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Get Saucy

Today it's my turn to share my culinary pièce de resistance, my coup de grâce, my je ne sais quoi... and for me, being English born and raised, it's not about the turkey, the veg or the potatoes, it's about sauce. Cranberry is well-known to most Americans, so I'll focus on my favourite sauce, which is also dead easy.

It's called bread sauce and this is because it is the sole remaining remnant of medieval cookery that we Brits still make on a regular basis.

You see, back in the day, medieval cooks would use up day-old bread by adding the breadcrumbs to sauce in order to thicken them. Sensible idea - waste not, want not.

Bread sauce is made with milk, onion, cloves, butter and bread. Here's what you do. 

I take a couple of decent-sized onions, cut off the tops and bottoms and peel them. Then, take some cloves and use them to stud the onions in a ring around each one, about a third of the way up the side. Sit the studded onions in a saucepan and fill it with milk to about two-thirds of the way up the side of the onions, and then simmer on a low heat until the onions are soft. This is the bit that throws people off now - discard the onions. What you have now is hot milk infused with clove and onion flavour. 

Take some slices of white bread and remove the crust, then break the slices into little pieces and add to the hot milk. Stir every so often till you get a sort of thick custardy consistency, then  take a potato masher and mash the mixture a few times to break up any large bread pieces. Add a knob of butter and stir in. Et voila! Bread sauce! The best thing for turkey and taters, believe you me. Try it, you'll wonder how you ate turkey without it.

If that sounds too complicated, you can buy bread sauce mix in a packet, ready-made, but really, how lazy are you? 

How about you just go all-out and open a can of something made by Dinty Moore? 

Better still, just skip straight to the after-dinner drinks - here's a good one to get you going, a recipe by that famous English loon, Fanny Cradock.


1 lemon
6 cloves
1 bottle red wine
1 pint weak tea

Stick cloves in lemon and bake in oven at Gas Mark 1/4 or 225F until light brown. Heat wine, dunk lemon in and add hot tea and sugar. When sugar is dissolved, raise heat to just below boiling and serve.

Cheers (hic)!

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