Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Saucy Tips

A common problem with cooking flour based sauces is the tendency of flour to form into lumps which can be quite hard to eliminate. I used to do all sort of things to get rid of them - from straining, stirring with 2 wooden spoons, to mixing it with water first before putting in the pan, etc. But nothing worked consistently or perfectly. Until I read several years before Delia Smith extolling the virtues of this sauce flour (above left) which I think she helped develop. Apparently this sauce flour has much less gluten in it than your average everyday flour thus reducing lumping significantly. I was skeptical at first but I did try it the next time I made a sauce needing flour. At it really worked as they claimed - very minimal lumps in my sauce. Previously, I slaved away stirring furiously like a maniac to try to get rid of the darn lumps. However, this flour really saved me a lot in terms of elbow grease and it tasted and thickened marvellously like any other all purpose flour.

Another tool that helped me achieve lumpless sauce heaven are these whisks (above right) first touted as "Wonder Whisks" by Lakeland Ltd. - my favourite kitchen shop. As with the flour sauce, I was doubtful it will do as it claims. So I put it to test when I made my first cassava cake using normal plain flour and it worked brilliantly. It really reduced the lumps and when used coupled with the sauce flour I always have lump-free sauces! I am a definite convert of these products. Do try them if they are available in your area they are quite inexpensive. In the UK, they are available in almost all shops selling kitchen items and the sauce flour is in all supermarkets already. Actually I got the green handled whisk above free from a cooking magazine. Happy saucing ...

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