The art of sauce making can be a tricky affair. The wrong choice of sauce will not harness a dish’s best flavour. The ‘Cook’s Book of Sauces‘ by Christine France is a book that explains the basics of sauce making.
A well-prepared sauce that is smooth and full of flavour is well within the capabilities of every cook, but sometimes just the name of the sauce can be off-putting to a beginner. The Cook’s Book of Sauces reveals the secrets of successful and easy sauce-making. Whether you want to add rich and flavourful gravy to a Sunday roast, or impress your dinner guests with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce with Duck Breasts, this book will show you how to make perfect sauces every time.
It is a wonderful source of reference on sauce making for beginners as the book contains 100 easy-to-prepare sauce recipes and with more than 500 colour photographs to indulge in. The content is marshalled into 7 sections – (1) Understanding the basics, (2) Classic Sauces, (3) Sauces for Pasta dishes, (4) Sauces for Meat Dishes, (5) Sauces for Fish Dishes, (6) Sauces for Vegetarian Dishes, and (7) Sauces for sweet dishes.
The book reveals the secrets of successful sauce-making: ‘good sauces begin with a stock’. With this fundamental idea established, the content is structured to approach the subject systematically.
The author initiated the book by offering explanations on the science behind the art of sauce making – you will learn about which flour to use for a smooth texture, which fats add the best flavour, how much and what type of liquid to use and how to infuse (steep) flavours. There is also a section which guides readers on how best to use the kitchen equipments to create perfect sauces.
The author believes that home-made stocks are better than the commercial stocks, it is simple to make and adds a rich flavour to any kind of savoury sauces. The book encourages and guides readers on how to make basic stocks – beef, fish, chicken, and vegetable stocks.
You will be guided on the standard ways to adjust the consistency of a sauce. The book shows the three basic methods of flour-based sauces: roux (mixture of flour, fat and milk or other liquids such as wine), blending (mixture of sauce made with cornflour/cornstarch, arrowroot, potato flour or sauce flour) and all-in-one (uses the same ingredients and proportions as the roux method but the liquid added must be cold).
Different ingredients can be use to create sauces of varying flavours, colours and textures. The book covers other types of sauces – vegetable sauces and salsas, savoury butter sauces, savoury egg sauces, sweet egg sauces, dessert sauces, fruit sauces and chocolate sauces.
With the basics tackled, the author moved on by introducing recipes of delicious classic sauces and the contemporary sauces for every kind of dish, from smooth and creamy, rich and robust, refreshing or tangy sauces to complement meat and poultry, fish, pasta, vegetarian dishes or even desserts. It is definitely a wonderful collection of international sauce recipes.
The book is a recommended choice should you seek for answers on how to make perfect sauces consistently. The book’s approach is simple, straight-forward and easy to follow. It adopts a comprehensive step-by-step techniques in dealing with the subject matter while the recipes and the colourful photo images are in place for readers’ apprehension and easy follow through. It is also packed with hints, tips, serving suggestions and presentation ideas that will guarantee to enliven your culinary repertoire.
Christine France. Cook’s Book of Sauces (Leicestershire: Anness Publishing Ltd, 2001, 2011)
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