With all the abundance coming from the garden I thought you might like some fresh ideas for creating sauces to go with your produce or to make the sauce itself. Over the years, I've become a big fan of making up a sauce that takes only 10 to 15 minutes from start to finish. It certainly turns a bland meal into a taste sensation. Having a big pile of fresh vegetables and making a sauce to pour over them (that gives you a nice change from cheese sauce or gravy) will always gain a few compliments from family and friends. Admittedly, my attempts haven't all been successful, but the ones in this blog have been tested in my household and are worth a try.
This sauce is really nice on roast chicken or chicken pieces. It also goes well with any game meat. Works with green grapes, but I think the red look better. The recipe makes about 2 cups and can be made a day ahead.
20g butter or 2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup dark grape juice
1 Tbsp port (optional)
1/4 cup chicken stock (liquid)
2 tsp Worcester sauce
200g dark grapes
2 spring onions, sliced
- Melt butter in small pot, add flour & stir while cooking until lightly browned.
- Remove from heat, stir in juice, port, stock & Worcester.
- Return to heat & stir until sauce boils & thickens slightly.
- Stir in grapes & onions.
This Spinach sauce on fish is delicious and one of my quick meals. The sauce can be quickly whipped up and as fish is quick to cook, your meal is soon ready. Spinach sauce is very versatile, so try it spooned through pasta or use it as a spread on sandwiches, rolls or wraps. The colour of this sauce is similar to pesto and more basil can be added to create flavour you prefer.
2 cups spinach leaves
1/2-1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 Tbsp dill or fennel (optional)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
- Put all ingredients in a food processor and process to a paste.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Sweet Pepper/Capsicum Sauce
This is tasty on beef, pork or chicken and you can make it as chunky or smooth as preferred. For vegetarians, it works with croquettes and swap the beef stock for vegetable stock. You can use any coloured capsicum. The recipe makes about 4 cups and can be made a few days ahead. It can also be frozen for later use.
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
410g can tomatoes
1 tsp paprika/smoked paprika
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp beef stock
1 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar
- Heat oil in pan
- Add onion, capsicums, celery and cook until vegetables are soft. Stir regularly.
- Stir in tomatoes, juice and all plus rest of ingredients.
- Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Greek Lemon & Garlic Sauce
Sauce for green beans, asparagus or any vegetable. Sometimes I will steam as many vegetables as I can find in the garden and fridge and then use this sauce like a dressing. This recipe makes 2 cups and can be made a day ahead.
1 large potato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
- Cook potato (boil, microwave).
- Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add enough water to create pouring consistency.
- Add chopped olives if you would like a bit more texture.
Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
The name of this sauce sounds yummy and it lives up to its name. It can be used in many ways but you will probably find the sweetness more suitable for desserts. Try it on pancakes, drizzled on cakes (especially pumpkin cake - check previous blog for cake recipe).
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter (unsalted is best)
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
- Gather all your ingredients as caramel cannot be left due to its tendency to burn.
- Put sugar in heavy medium pot.
- Over medium heat, melt sugar, stirring often. It will go from a little liquid to clumps to a light amber liquid.
- Keep stirring for approx 7-12 minutes, depending on your pot and heat of stove, to achieve an amber colour with all the sugar crystals melted.
- Add butter and stir until melted.
- Add 1/2 the cream and stir, then the other 1/2. The mixture will bubble up when cream is added.
- Remove from heat and stir in the pumpkin, spices, vanilla and salt.
- Stir until smooth. Whisk if there are any lumps.
To reheat, do so in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.
This is a bit different and a good option for using any melons you have waiting to be harvested. I have made lots of nice watermelon salsa, but the sauce is another option and it can be fun getting everyone to guess what it is. Use it as a topping for ice-cream or on a trifle. Its great drizzled on a salad. It is also a great sauce for adding your own touches. Try basil leaves or a whole orange, vanilla paste or a bit of chilli.
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp lime juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water or flavoured vodka
- Put all ingredients into the food processor or blender
- Process until smooth
- Add water/vodka slowly and keep processing until consistency is as per your requirements.
Go on......get creative. Experiment by swapping similar ingredients in these recipes and create your own flavours. This is how I found my favourites and the options are still endless.