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

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