Category Archives: Sauces

This is Not HP Sauce

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This sauce is not HP sauce, but on tasting it you would be forgiven for thinking it is. Being English and living in Italy, there some things that I have grown up with that are not available in the shops and supermarkets. HP sauce being one of them.  Over the 10 years or more that we have lived here we have learnt to make do with alternatives to many ‘English’ foods, but there are no alternatives to this special brown sauce .

I do like HP sauce but I do not eat a great deal of it. It is spicy and I like it when I have chips (french fries/patate frite) on my plate. Joy, my wife, likes the sauce with baked beans on toast and with chips. No doubt I could buy this in Milan or Turin, but they are both over 60 miles (100 kms) or so away, and so several years ago I started researching by looking at recipes on the internet, and comparing those with what was actually written on a bottle of HP. After several trials I eventually refined my recipe until I arrived at this one. It is good, as good as the real stuff, if not better, but with one important difference: there are no unnecessary additives, fillers or flavour enhancers. This is the real deal, and it has good shelf life, anything up to 2 years or so.

The following list of ingredients will make over 2 litres/4 US pints/3½ UK pints, but I start with the quantity of plums that I can either forage or buy, and then adjust the other ingredients to suit. Yes I could buy 2 kg/4.5 lbs of plums but quite often I can buy more for a lower unit cost, and anyway there is a very healthy plum tree in the meadow behind our house that is loaded with small plums, and we have permission to pick.

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Ingredients

2 kg/4½lbs plums , that are sweet and firm. If over ripe they will just dissolve and you will have to simmer the end product for longer to achieve a good pouring consistency.

1 litre/2 US pints/1.75 UK pints red wine vinegar or malted vinegar

175 gm/6 oz dates, stoned and chopped

115 gm/4 oz raisins

1 large onion, chopped

4 large cloves garlic, chopped

60 gm/2 oz/5 cm/2 in fresh ginger, grated or equivalent ginger paste or powder

1 tbsp coriander seeds, freshly ground

1 tsp allspice berries, freshly ground

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

200 gm/ tamarind seedless, cut into small cubes or paste

300 gm/10 oz dark sugar

Method

Halve and stone the plums and chop if they are large.

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I can pass on a small tip here. On each plum there is a groove running from top to bottom.

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By cutting the plum at 90° to this groove, when you twist the 2 halves apart the stone is left edge-ways in one half and is then much easier to remove.

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Put the plums pieces into a stainless steel pan with all the other ingredients.

Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Stirring towards the end of the hour to ensure that it is not sticking.

Remove from the heat and using a stick blender, reduce thoroughly to a smooth consistency.

Taste for  heat and add more cayenne if desired.

The consistency should be the same as that of commercial ketchups/catsups, so test by putting a tablespoonful on a cold tea plate. Allow it to cool. When cold, it should retain its shape and move slowly when the plate is tipped. If you want to thicken it, simmer for 20 minutes at a time and test again.

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When it is ready, pour into clean, dry and very hot screw cap jars. Fill close to the rim and screw down the lid tight. Store in a cool, dry and dark place.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under All Year, Sauces, Spicy

Whole Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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As anyone who is following this blog knows, I like cauliflower, however it is cooked or not. This recipe proved to be no exception and in fact I think that this is one really excellent way to present cauliflower at the table as the centre piece of a special meal.

This recipe is not particularly hot. It is in fact a mild curry, but one can soon adjust that if you wanted to. The recipe that inspired me to try this is on Veganricha.com ,but I have changed several things to suit my local scene and personal preferences, For instance I am unable to buy coconut milk, but I can buy coconut powder; so no problem there and I just adjusted the amount of liquid in the sauce to compensate. Also fresh tomatoes are called for. However at this time of year the tomatoes are certainly red, but can I taste them – no. So I used a tin of tomato pulp instead.

The cauliflower is blanched for 5 minutes or so in spiced water, and when I removed the cauliflower I used that water for cooking the rice (see my notes on cooking rice here). I even used some of that water to heat  the peas as well.

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Serves 4. Preparation 15 minutes. Cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients

1 whole cauliflower, leaves removed and the tough stem removed and cut so the cauliflower sits level

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

good pinch of salt

For the sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion finely chopped

1 or 2 cloves of garlic minced

2 cm/1 inch of ginger grated

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tin 454 gm/1 lb tomato pulp

1 teaspoon curry powder or to your taste

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground fenugreek seeds

1 tablespoon coconut powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

a good grind of pepper

Method

In a saucepan gently saute the onion in the oil for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomato pulp and bring up to boil.

Add the spices, salt and pepper and finally the coconut powder and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile put the salt, turmeric and chilli  into enough boiling water to cover the trimmed cauliflower and blanch for 5 minutes.

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Remove the cauliflower, drain and put it in the baking dish, ready for the sauce.

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Pour the sauce over the cauliflower reserving some to pour at the table.

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Bake at 180 C/350 F/Gas 4/Moderate for about 20 to 25 minutes. Test for completion by inserting a thin knife into the cauliflower.

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I served this with plain boiled basmati rice and peas (albeit cooked in some spicy cauliflower blanch water.

 

 

 

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Filed under All Year, Main Meal, Sauces, Spicy, Vegetables

Baked Cauliflower and Lemon Tahini Sauce

 

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Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable, found across a whole range of cuisines, cooks easily and compliments many different flavours. I have just about cooked it in as many ways as you could think of but up until now I have not baked cauliflower. Well this recipe did it for me, paired with a sauce that threatens to become a store cupboard standby.

See what you think. It takes only minutes to prepare and with a total cooking time of no more than 25 minutes, this could be a boon to people in a hurry. As a side dish you would want to put it alongside food that is not strongly flavoured so that you can savour the sauce.

This recipe serves 2 but is easily scaled up to suit your requirements.

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Ingredients

1 small head of cauliflower broken into florets

1 tablespoon of olive oil

a good pinch of salt

For the sauce

Tahini paste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 clove of garlic minced

3/4  tablespoon Sumac spice

3/4 tablespoon fresh chopped dill or 1 dessert spoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes

1 /4 teaspoon salt

Method

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In a bowl mix well the florets of cauliflower, salt and oil, tip into a baking dish and roast at 200 C/ F/ Gas / in a preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.

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Stir through and turn the florets at least once during the baking.

 

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, in a blender and produce a smooth puree. If necessary add a little more wine to thin it.

Either serve on plates with the sauce drizzled over the cauliflower or serve at the table with sauce in bowls for dipping.

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Here I have served it with boiled potatoes, carrots and some cauliflower leaves.

 

 

 

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Filed under All Year, Main Meal, Sauces, Side Dishes, Spicy, Student Food, Student Food, Vegetables

Tomato Sauce

A tomato sauce that you can tinker with around the edges according to what dish it is complementing is what I am offering here, and it is so easy to make.

Serves 4 with preparation time about 10 minutes and cooking time about 20 minutes

Ingredients

Basic

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

450gm/1lb tin of tomato pulp or passata

salt and pepper

For a hot sauce

1 level teaspoon chilli flakes

For a savoury sauce

2 level teaspoons of dried mixed herbs or herbs of your choice

For a sweet and sour sauce

1 desert spoon of sugar (adjust to your taste)

2 desert spoons of pineapple juice or white wine vinegar

For an Indian sauce

1 level teaspoon of your favourite curry powder (adjust to your taste)

Method

  1. Gently fry the onion in the oil for about 4 minutes then add the garlic, cooking for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato, salt and pepper and the herbs or spices of your choice.
  3. Bring to the boil cooking for a few minutes.
  4. Use a stick blender to smooth the sauce then check the flavour and adjust  if you need to.
  5. Decant into a serving jug or dish and keep warm until ready to use.

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