Do I Make ... ?
| There are basically just two ways to
1. Use Bisto™ or stock cubes
2. Do it properly using the roasting fats and cornflour
||Jonno, China Expats, Foshan, China
|Jonno is a keen chef for friends
and family. He has cooked and interpolated many
dishes over the years, and invented ones of his
He likes Garfield's Grandmother's Chilli Gravy!
As soon as heat is applied - keep stirring
until the pan is simmering - this avoids horrible lumps
that won't go away.
2. Can be made
in advance and reheated.
4. You can add things
to gravy like: Chilli, herbs, and whatever takes your
5. Use the water from potatoes
and savory vegetables instead of adding tap water.
6. Avoid using the water from sweet
carrots and sweetcorn - unless this is your bag, baby?
7. Add water for thin gravy; add less
water - or simmer (Boil) it away for thick gravy. The
consistency is about right when it flows like single
cream off your wooden mixing spoon (It will try to congeal
as it slowly cools)
|1. Let's get started:- British
Gravy - Simple
Buy a pack of Bisto (From Hong Kong probably) and mix
as instructed. Using the water from the vegetables does
help, and as it is already warm it takes less time.
I prefer the powder, although you may be great with
the granules version? Up to you!
Let's get started:- British Gravy - Easy
This time we are sort of doing what Bisto does, except
we are adding stock cubes and other bits. Same technique,
but a little more complex:
This time we will match the stock cubes with the meat
we are eating. Therefore I do not really want chicken
flavoured gravy if I am eating roast beef.
I will use one stock cube of the meat flavour I am cooking,
plus one of vegetable stock to each mix. This is enough
for two to four people. If you like a lot of gravy,
then increase the stock cubes as well as the vegetable
water. Add herbs and spices as suits the meat. Thyme
and/or basil works well with most, whilst Rosemary is
great with Lamb.
When adding dried herbs, soak them for 20 minutes in
a little lukewarm water first - it makes a great difference
to the final taste.
3. Let's get started:-
Proper British Gravy
We begin this recipe when we have taken the meat out
of the oven and set it to rest. This time our gravy
is made from what is left behind in the roasting tin.For
those paranoid about animal fats, then you can drain
off the top liquid (Probably two-thirds of what remains).
I use all of it!
Next you need to add some cornflour. To be specific
for those living in China - cornflour is the flour made
from the seeds/fruits of the maize plant. Most available
everywhere in China is made from rice flour, and this
simply doesn't work right! Corn Starch is rice (Or anything
else) flour. I only buy mine in the UK (Not even Hong
Kong). Given we actually have proper cornflour, let's
Add 3-heaped teaspoons to a small bowl, and then add
drips of cold water. Stir continuously = very important!
You will end up with a white liquid that has no lumps
and can be watered down very easily. I am looking for
half a gill of liquid that has the consistency of ordinary
milk.That would be 3 fluid ounces, or 'I have absolutely
no idea' in French measurements? If you are using a
common rice bowl, then it is the depth of your index
finger nail, tightly trimmed.
Put the roasting tin on a hob and leave to slow simmer
for a few minutes. Meanwhile, gently stir-in the cornflour
with a wooden spoon until all fats are absorbed into
the mix. Add potatoe and cabbage or leek water little
by little, and continually stirring, bring it to a thin
After a few minutes you will have a pan full of stable
liquid gravy that you can then add things to. Black
pepper is normal, but be careful with the salt - especially
if you salted the vegetables. I would probably not add
salt to this at all, or only do so as a last resort
to fix the flavour.
Again you can add fresh, or soaked dried herbs, and
anything else that takes your fancy. Garlic can work
extremely well with certain meats. This is when I add
Garfield's chilli, and a full teaspoonful of Encona
brand does the trick in UK. In China I use a heaped
Tablespoon full of Guilin chilli sauce - fantastic!
With this version, don't worry if it is of a light colour,
that's how it is meant to be. It also doesn't matter
if you have small pieces of cabbage or potatoe in it,
but larger pieces should be removed.
Then it is simply a case of adding vegetable water to
make it thinner, or simmering away to make it thicker
+ cheating by adding more cornflour of course.
You can add to the presentation by adding a finely chopped
small mushroom a few minutes before serving, and paper-thin
slices have great visual appeal for hungry guests.
Seeing as proper cornflour is very difficult to obtain
in China, I have personally switched to using ordinary
wheat flour. This is very awkward to work with unless
you understand how to make and use a Roux? A roux is
the standard Béchamel sauce base. My trick is
to replace the butter with the remnant animal fat from
the roasting tim (Once cooled sufficiently). Using a
very little fresh milk to set the Béchamel, I then use
the vegetable water instead of milk. This requires a
week of high-speed stirring or whisking, whilst adding
minimal quantities each time - but works a treat in
real life + is a very healthy workout
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