Category Archives: Condiments, Dressings & Sauces

magic sauce

Magic Sauce

Do you ever have those weeks where you don’t feel like cooking at all? Despite the fact that I love cooking, I have them quite often, and this is one of those weeks. I started off with the best of intentions and a fridge full of veggies, but have found myself lacking inspiration and motivation. It is times like these where I make a jar of some kind of sauce, and eat it over vegetables, salad and rice all week. Enter the Magic Sauce.

Why is this sauce magic, you ask? Well, firstly it goes with so many things, over salads, in tacos and arepas, over rice and beans and even as a dipping sauce for corn chips or fried things. I can basically cook some rice, top it with tinned black beans and a super quick slaw and drown it with this stuff and call it dinner. Bam. The next day I can throw some avocado and grilled oyster mushrooms into an arepa or taco, and bam, another dinner. Day 3, salad, and so on. A jar of sauce turns a sad pile of vegetables into a meal.  Secondly, it’s the only way I can eat coriander.

Yes, that’s right, I’m one of those. A non-coriander eater. That fresh green herb that people like to throw on everything, ruining otherwise perfectly good meals, is the bane of my existence. It’s everywhere, and unavoidable. People tell me how great it is, how important it is to so many dishes, how perfectly it finishes off this or that, and I am jealous, because I taste nothing but soap. Until this sauce. There’s something about this combination that hides the soap taste. Like magic.

Now, you might wonder why a coriander hater like me would even bother trying to hide the taste so I can put it into food. Why not just leave it out? Well, 99.99% of the time I do, but I’m trying to build up a tolerance for those unfortunate mouthfuls of pho where coriander stems are masked as julienned spring onion, and I also acknowledge that the unique, fresh taste of coriander is sometimes, although very rarely, irreplaceable. Particularly in latin cuisine, tangy, herby flavours are so important, and my go-to combo of parsley, mint and oregano doesn’t always cut it. And so, I created this sauce, originally inspired by the fiery green sauce at Zambrero’s, but far less spicy so it can be used in abundance. It’s also much creamier, because yum.

And so, here it is. The next lazy week, I’ll share my dragon sauce recipe, and we can all eat dragon bowls until the urge to make a four course dinner overwhelms us.

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked a few hours, rinsed and drained

1/4 -1/3 cup lime juice (to taste)

1/4 to 1/2 cup water (depending on how thick you want it)

Scant 1/4 cup neutral tasting oil

1 tbsp plus 1tsp apple cider vinegar

2 -3 tsp agave nectar (to taste)

1 large clove garlic, peeled

1/2 white onion, peeled

1 tsp sea salt

1 jalapeño chilli from a jar (or more if you want a really spicy sauce)

1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, plus a little extra

1/4 cup fresh coriander

1 sprig fresh mint (leaves only)

Method

1. Place all ingredients except for the herbs into a high powered blender and blend until totally smooth. Taste and add a little more lime juice, salt or water if required. Remember that once it gets cold, the flavours will be half as strong.

2. Add the herbs and pulse or blend for a short burst until the sauce is green but lots of little flecks of herbs are still visible. Don’t blend it so long that it turns into an homogenous green, because unless it’s for halloween it’s not appealing. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until chilled. It is now ready to use and will keep at least 5 days.

Chipotle Dressing

Bangin’ Chipotle Salad Dressing

Makes around 2/3 cup

Time: 5 minutes

I made this dressing to pour onto my rather uninteresting dinner of kale and sweet potato salad (which I won’t be posting), because I just couldn’t be bothered tonight. I’m tired, it’s freezing and all I wanted to do was get dinner over and done with so I could crawl under the blankets and watch Netflix. Yep, it’s true, I don’t in fact cook elaborate feasts every night of the week. Sometimes I have a bad day and just put a whole bunch of veggies in the oven and pour some kind of sauce over the top. There have been really bad days where I didn’t even make a sauce (hangs head in shame).

Luckily this dressing makes everything delicious and will transform just about any salad or vegetable into something a bit special, and is definitely worth a post. It’s so simple to make, but packs a flavour punch. Put it on a taco salad, potato salad, raw kale, grilled corn or even a simple garden salad with avocado.

This is definitely in my top three favourite salad dressings.

Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed

1 tbsp agave nectar

1-2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce

A couple of pinches of salt, or to taste

Method

Place all ingredients in a tall container and blend until smooth with a stick/immersion blender. Yep, that’s it, too easy.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge if not using straight away.

enchilada sauce 2

Home Made Enchilada Sauce

I mostly use this sauce for enchiladas, but it is actually an all purpose chilli sauce. Use it for tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas or anything you like.

Traditionally this sauce is made with New Mexico chillies, but I love the chocolatey and fruity flavours of Mulato and Pasilla chillies, so to hell with tradition. Mexican red chilli sauce is also usually thickened with flour, but that inconveniently renders an otherwise gluten-free meal unsuitable for coeliacs, so I developed a version that doesn’t need thickening at all.

I wouldn’t be without this in my fridge (or freezer).

Ingredients

4 dried mulato chillies

2 dried pasilla chillies

4 dried arbol chillies

2 cups boiling water

2 cups good vegetable stock

1/2 brown onion, roughly diced

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180C. Remove the stems and most of the seeds from the chillies. Place onto a baking tray into the oven and roast for around 4 or 5 minutes until they just release their aroma. Keep a close eye on them: If they burn even slightly they will be bitter and horrible and nothing will mask the burned taste of your sauce.

2. Place all the ingredients, including the chillies, into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 30 minutes, until soft. Leave to cool with the lid on around 20 minutes

3. Place the contents of the sauce into a powerful blender. Blend until smooth – this could take a few minutes. If you need to add a bit more water to get it to blend smoothly, do so 1/4 cup at a time. You want a sauce that is thick enough to cling to the back of a spoon, like a thick gravy.

4. Push the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the bitter skins. Store in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.

Chipole mayo

Chipotle-Lime Mayo

Total time: 5 minutes

Special equipment: upright blender

I am a bit obsessed with chipotle chillies. Did I say a bit? Perhaps that’s an understatement. Smoky AND spicy, together in the one magical creation? Yes please! Whoever came up with the idea of smoking a jalapeño pepper is  freakin’ genius. Honestly, I hope it made them rich, because they deserved to be. I find myself adding it to just about everything,  so when I make Mexican food, you’d better believe chipotle is going to be a feature. I made this to go with my vegan ‘baja fish’ tacos last night, but this is also my go-to condiment for anything Mexican, BBQs, burgers, eggplant chips or anything potato. In fact, as I sit here writing this post  I am stuffing myself with left over taco filling loaded up with this sauce.

This mayo does tend to separate a little in the fridge after a day, but just give it a stir and it will be as good as new.

Ingredients

1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 small clove garlic, peeled

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tsp sugar

1 whole large chipotle chilli in adobo sauce, with a bit of extra sauce

3/4 cup canola or safflower oil

Method

1. Place all ingredients except oil into an upright blender and blend until smooth

2. With the blender running on low, slowly drizzle in the canola oil until emulsified. Blend just a little longer to combine

3. Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to a week