Sauces, Vinegars & Spices

Whether you are looking for a sauce to go with a specific dish or just wondering how to use spices, hopefully your questions will be answered here

Using your Halogen Oven

Frozen stock cubes

When you have made a stock, be it meat or vegetable, dont throw the remains away, simply put the remainder into an ice cube tray and freeze. When you need some stock again, just pop out the number of cubes you need to add that flavour! Great when making Soups and sauces and really saves on waste.

BBQ Sauces

You can make sauces in advance and either keep them in the fridge or in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

Try my Citrus Horseradish Sauce if you want you Pork Spare Ribs to have some zing!

Italian Pesto Sauce


There are many types of Basil but the one we tend to see here is the Sweet Basil version.

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes and is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator,in a pot on the windowsill (live plants can be bought easily from most good supermarkets) or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The herb is also available in a dried version but it loses most of its flavour, so avoid if you can

Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce. It is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces in particular with strawberries

Balsamic Vinegar

You don't have to spend a fortune on Balsamic vinegar. To make a cheaper version even better, put the quantity you require of the balsamic vinegar in a pan and reduce until syrupy on a low heat. Allow to completely cool before use.

You wouldn't know the difference! Try my recipe for Ciabatta and Balsamic dip on the recipe page!

Which Oil to Use

This depends on what you are cooking.

Lard is imperative for example in making Yorkshire puddings, first of all for the flavour but also because it can reach very high temperatures, so important in helping them to rise.

Mel swears that fried bread (naughty but very very nice on a Sunday brunch!) cannot be done any other way than in lard - but then she is a Yorkshire lass!

On the healthy side, it is a well known fact that Olive Oil is better for you and believed to aid against heart disease. It also tastes better in its bottled state and can be used on salads, for dressings and for adding flavour to cooking.

I would suggest that lard does have its place but Olive oil is the tops. Try normal Olive Oil for cooking but the Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salads etc - delicious!

However, when cooking Indian, Chinese or Thai, the best oil to use is Groundnut, Walnut or vegetable oil, all of which will achieve the high temperatures crucial for this type of cooking.

Salad Dressings

When making a salad dressing, just throw all the ingredients into a Lock and Lock shaker cup, shake it all about, use what you need and keep the rest in the sealed container until next time!

See my recipe page under "Basics" as to how to make a good salad dressing - there are plenty to choose from

Opening Jars & Bottles

After opening them for the first time, just wipe some vegetable oil around the neck of the bottle or jar with kitchen paper and this will make it easier to open the cap in future.

With the likes of tomato ketchup or brown sauce in glass bottles, if you can't get the sauce to pour, gently tap the bottom of the bottle on a firm surface - somehow it always works, don't ask me how!


To save time when cooking, make a mixture of 2/3 of sea salt with 1/3 of ground black pepper in a dish or shaker. All in one, in one shake!

Sour Cream

To make soured cream, simply add 1 tsp of lemon or lime juice to a small tub of double cream.

Delicious on pasta!

Dry Fried Spices

To get a much more flavoursome Indian food, I suggest that you heat up a fry pan and adding no oil whatsoever, tip in the spices ie cumin etc and fry over a high heat for about a minute, taking care not to burn them.

Immediately take out of the pan and you will have not only a beautiful smelling kitchen but your sauces will be greatly improved in flavour.

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