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Making-Quick-Sauces-in-Microwave_cThere's really no excuse for even the most nervous of cooks to avoid sauce-making any longer. The microwave really does make it all so easy! The joy is that they need so little attention during cooking, and as they are not made in anything metal, there's very little likelihood of a scorched pan to contend with afterwards. I have found that even the richest of sauces - those thickened with eggs or cream (like a Hollandaise or a Creme Caramel) will not curdle as long as they are cooked on low power for no longer than the necessary time (that is, until thick). Many sauces tend to thicken a little on standing.

The only real art in making your sauces in the microwave is to give them a really good whisk - especially if they are thickened with flour, although you'll find my beurre manie method helps to keep out the lumps. Don't use a metal whisk though. I use one of those plastic balloon-types that you can buy very cheaply from a cookshop or microwave equipment suppliers.

Choose a jug or bowl which is large enough to prevent the sauce from boiling over as milk tends to rise rather quickly! It should have room enough for you to give the sauce a good whisk at the end of cooking, too.

Microwaved Bread Sauce is very good - fluffy and thick - and for good measure, I have included my favourite Spaghetti Sauce. And no sauce chapter would be complete without a Chocolate Sauce for the children.

Making Gravy

Whether using instant gravy powder or making gravy in the traditional way, the microwaved results are lump-free! It is essential, however, to give the gravy a good whisk at the end of cooking.

Traditional Gravy

Pour off most of the fat from the roasting tin, leaving about 2 tablespoons of the sediment. Stir in 1 level tablespoon plain flour and blend thoroughly with the fat. Gradually blend in 1/2 pint (300ml) hot stock. Transfer to a large microproof jug or bowl and heat on full power for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes, whisking once during cooking and again at the end of the cooking time. Add seasoning to taste and serve.

Instant Gravy

Blend 3 teaspoons instant gravy powder with a little water in a large microproof jug or bowl. Gradually blend in 1/2 pint (300ml) hot stock. Heat on full power for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes, whisking well once during cooking and again at the end of cooking. Taste for seasoning and serve.

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