Something-like-Diane Sauce (or ‘Sauce Diane’)

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to cook something new EVERY SINGLE DAY. For quite a few reasons, although I must confess I made a lot of my resolutions in the alcohol-soaked bliss of a New Years Eve in the Lake District with my lady love, some of them seem wiser than others now.

But this one came about with the accidental receiving of no less than five diaries this year for Christmas, possibly a subtle hint from my nearest and dearest that I need to be ever so slightly more organised than I am… Stuck for a use for five, I decided to use one as a recipe diary over the year, and thus arrived at my ‘cooking something new every day’.

And so, day nine, and I find myself dreaming of Diane. You know, that mustardy, tangy loveliness that sits on pub menus in the ‘sauce’ section? I, er, love it so much I have it with chips, and lovingly dunk every one in, catching a wafer-thin slice of sautéed mushroom on the end of my deep fried potato if I was lucky. Sitting in a pub in Penrith, I added it to my mental list of ‘things I must learn to cook this year’. And here we are.

I adapted my recipe from the BBC Good Food website, altering it slightly due to a mild error on my part and a lack of lemons, so what we have is **like** a Diane, not quite the real thing…

6 small mushrooms
1 tsp flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil
a pinch of salt and a good grind (or pinch) of pepper
1-2 tsp mustard, according to taste (the BBC recommended Dijon but I didn’t have any so used English instead)
2 tbsp Worcester sauce (or half a beef or chicken stock cube)
2 tbsp brandy (optional but delicious)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Thinly slice your mushrooms and toss into a small saucepan. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and stir to coat the mushrooms, then add the oil on a low heat. Stir well and briskly – I like to use a fork (!) – to prevent any lumps from forming.

Dollop in the first teaspoon of mustard, continuing to stir briskly – I have a fear of both clumpy and split sauces so set about them with a vigorous whisking motion, hardly stopping as I add other ingredients and always with a slight panicked air… You can add the second at the end after you’ve tasted your sauce. In the words of a great old film, Some Like It Hot. I like it decidedly medium – tangy, but not unpleasantly caustic, but it learned long ago that not all tongues are created equal…

Add your Worcester sauce, or your half stock cube if opting for the economical version – and add a splash of water. Stir again, briskly again, you get the picture. Slosh in your brandy (if using, ignore if not), and lemon juice, and cook on a low heat for a few minutes to thicken.

And voila. Something not unlike a Sauce Diane (the proper way to say it, apparently), and a perfect receptacle for dunking chips into.

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @MsJackMonroe



  1. I like the idea of cooking something different every day. Too easy to get stuck in a rut. But my cooking is a bit like my wardrobe, in desperate need of funds and inspiration. Actually, my cooking is far more flamboyant than my tragic clothes,

  2. Sounds lovely. But I only make Diane sauce with steak (chips on the side generally) & in the pan the steak was cooked in. A treat obviously, rather than a regular tea. Never thought of it as a a stand alone. I do like the idea of a lot more new dishes but would balk at one a day. Will aim for one a week!

  3. Yum sounds good will deffo give that a try…I love sauces on everything!!!….Jack have you tried one of those little mini flat whisks for your sauce making…they are very cheap and brilliant for sauces ….I like the idea of a food diary too!…Good to see you so happy and positive xx

  4. Oh Jack, love the idea of the recipe diary!
    Not so sure about the 365 new dishes though ;-). We did something similar with the family a couple of times. It was good fun, but we chose the week of half- term we get here in the Netherlands. 365 days sounds like next year will be filled with all the dishes you missed in 2015!

  5. I always admire those who make New Years resolutions, particularly one such as this! Looking forward to seeing what you make as part of your personal challenge Jack.

    Personally I think this sounds like it would be delicious with grilled black pudding and some salad on the side… Now I can’t stop thinking about it. Darn you! 🙂

    Eats x

  6. Good luck Jack!
    I’m sure you’ll pull it off!
    And I wish you a speedy recovery for your foot. An awful way to start the new year.

    Isn’t it funny though how the best recipes always seem to pop up if there is some kind of constraint. I just love emptying the fridge or larder, cooking for people with allergies or just plain and simpele time restraints. Aw sorry; forgot for a moment who I’m talking to. Ms Budget Restraint Herself! 😉

  7. I seem to remember Nigel Slater commenting, sometime well along in his Kitchen Diary year, that having to cook something worth noting, every single day, made him feel like a cooking machine. Bearing in mind that almost everyone breaks their New Year’s resolutions sooner or later, I hope you won’t feel that you have to push this one past the stage where it’s still fun to do.

    Great to have a Diane-like recipe. I had the traditional Steak Diane at my 21st party and it was good, but having the recipe to use with other dunking materials -and perhaps on baked (or nuked) potato – is a really good thought.

    A bit surprised by there being so much Worcestershire sauce in this. I’ve shaken the L&P bottle at mushroom dishes often enough in the past that I’d have expected to use much less than this – less than a single teaspoonful, perhaps. It is meant to read “2 tbsp”, not “tsp”, is it?

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