Category Archives: Sauces

Nacho cheese sauce

Infinitely customisable thick cheesy nacho sauce that’s not too starchy or heavy… You can choose any kind of cheese you like, but I prefer a blend of strong hard cheese and something mild like emmental which seems to keep the sauce stringy!

  • 100g grated hard cheese, a blend of your own choice around
  • 5g cornflour/corn starch (you can thicken the sauce or thin it by adjusting this up or down a few grams)
  • 5g Colemans mustard powder
  • 5g turmeric
  • 2g black pepper
  • 175g evaporated milk (koffiemelk in NL)

Optional extras:

fresh chilli, coriander, onions, garlic, smoked paprika etc etc

Whisk the cornflour, mustard, turmeric and black pepper into the evaporated milk in a pan. Add the cheese and stir over a medium heat for around ten minutes until the cheese has melted. The sauce should be nice and hot and smooth. If you’re adding extras do it now and let the sauce come back up to temprature before serving.

Pour over hot nacho chips (or indeed regular chips. Or anything.)

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Mac & cheese 131

This isn’t finished, probably won’t ever be finished, but here is a version of Mac & Cheese that I like, that other people have tasted and enjoyed. It is according to my notes, attempt no. 131 at making Fred Smith’s (from his days at Ad Cod), Mac & Cheese.

600g macaroni raw weight
60g butter
70g plain flour
6g English mustard powder
1g turmeric
1g smoked paprika
6g salt
500g whole milk
250g cream
260g strong cheese grated (something nice and old)
250g marscapone
40g cider vinegar
30g frenchs mustard
3 egg yolks
50g butter to finish
Sea salt and black pepper to finish
Breadcrumbs and cheese to finish
100ml cream also to finish

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for one minute less than the pack instructions, drain and refresh in cold running water. Warm the milk over a medium heat stirring occasionally until it’s almost unomfortable to dip a finger in.

Melt the butter in a large pan on a medium heat. In a small bowl mix the flour, mustard powder, turmeric, paprika & salt. Add this to the butter and stir until it’s well combined and starts to sizzle. let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes, stiring constantly.

Gradually add the warm milk, stiring all the time. Once all the milk is added keep stiring until the sauce comes close to boiling and gets very thick. Add the cream and cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the vinegar, French’s mustard and the marscapone. When the marscapone has dissolved into the sauce, fold in the remaining butter and egg yolks. Transfer the sauce to a clean pan or bowl, lay a piece of cling film over the surface of the sauce and leave to cool.

When you’re ready to build the Mac & cheese, mix the part cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and pour into a suitably large oven dish. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs (preferably toasted sourdough crumbs) and cheese and the remaining 100ml cream. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven on 180 degrees for 22 mins. Rotate the dish if it’s browning unevenly and drop the oven temprature buy 20 degrees if it’s colouring too quickly.

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Fermented Chili Sauce

I’ve been reading Sandor Katz’s Art of Fermentation on and off for about six months; it’s an absolute treasure trove of information covering more types of fermentation than I even knew existed. It’s also pretty boring so takes time and concentration to read.

I’ve done a few experiments from it, some successful some not so much. This hot and sour fermented chili sauce is version three of a rough formula outlined in the book (the methods in the book are less recipe and more meandering discussions of possible variations of endless possibilities).

You can vary which chilies you use depending how hot you want it, I currently have a plain red chili sauce which is no hotter than Tabasco, and one spiked with scotch bonnets and habaneros which is quite fiery. No two ferments are the same so it’s always exciting to see how the finished sauce will be.

I’ve made this recipe in percentages, meaning the total weight of your chillies = 100%, everything else is a percentage of the chili weight.

Chillies

Chillies 100%
Garlic 5%
Ginger 2.5%
Toasted, ground and sieved Sichuan pepper 0.5%
Sea salt 2%

Remove the stems from the chillies and finely slice them and add to a metal bowl. Mince the garlic and ginger and add to the chillies.

Sprinkle over the salt and Sichuan pepper, then start mashing it all together; I use the flat end of a rolling pin, you need to mash it for about ten minutes to break down the cell walls of the chili and let the juices out and the salt in.

After ten minutes you will end up with a kind of wet, chili paste, your eyes will stream and your skin will burn.

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Transfer the mixture to a suitably large preserving jar. This mashed chili mixture has enough salt to keep bad microbes away but not too much to kill the natural yeasts and good bacteria that live in the chillies. At warm temperatures this will start fermenting in a few hours, in winter it could take a day or so.

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Once the chili sauce starts fermenting, lactic and acetic acid is produced, this adds a delicious sharpness to the finished sauce, but also makes the sauce hostile to bad bacteria such as those that cause botulism. The sauce is essentially pickled.

Actively fermenting sauce
Actively fermenting sauce

This can ferment for anywhere between two and four weeks, it’s difficult to taste in this state so you need to decide how sour you want the sauce to be, closer to four weeks it will be more sour than at two weeks. Eventually the yeasts and bacteria will run out of food, or the sauce becomes too acidic, and fermentation will stop.

The following picture was taken at 3 weeks, fermentation had almost finished, probably because it was 30+ degrees for most of the three weeks (warm things ferment faster)

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When ready, blitz the chili sauce in a food processor and pass through a sieve. You’ll end up with a sauce with the consistency of Tabasco, but infinitely more flavor. Bottle and store in the fridge; the flavor will continue to change(improve?) for many months as it continues to slowly ferment. Keeps for at least three months, probably years.

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Fig & bourbon BBQ sauce

This is a really sweet and rich BBQ sauce. It works best with smoked beef and pork, but if you swap fig jam for cherry and replace the vinegar with fresh lemon juice you get a lighter sauce for chicken/burgers etc.

720g Heinz ketchup
550g fig jam
55g red wine vinegar
55g molasses 
65g brown sugar 
35g Worcestershire sauce 
45g dark soy sauce 
55g hot sauce (I use chipotle ketchup from the Pitt Cue book)
15g liquid smoke 
10g onion powder 
200g Bourbon 

Bubble all the ingredients together in a pan until thick then bottle while hot.