Finding my feet in a blogging world

This first blog entry is a response to a request for the recipe for my sauce I used in the final, with the chicken and pea assiette. The sauce I made was a chicken veloute’, a classic French sauce which is stock-based and is usually thickened with a roux and enrichened with cream at the end. However, when I use a roux to thicken a sauce I find no matter how long the roux is first cooked out for, the flour in the roux detracts from the flavour of the sauce. This might just be subconscious as I know I put the flour in there, but I prefer to thicken the sauce by reducing it more which in turn intensifies the flavour. In fact I don’t know if what I made is a veloute’ at all, as I essentially made a chicken jus finished with cream instead of butter. Nevertheless, here is the recipe.

Chicken stock:

If you already have chicken stock then you can skip ahead to the veloute’ recipe, but I thought as my first recipe it would be somewhat fitting to have a basic such as chicken stock. Also, if you have never made your own stock and insist on buying packet stuff, then I implore you to try, as the results speak for themselves, not to mention it works out cheaper!

1 chicken carcass

6 chicken wings

½ stick celery, roughly chopped

½ carrot, roughly chopped

½ brown onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic

6 sprigs thyme, 4 stalks parsley and a bay leaf (boquet garni)

6 black peppercorns


Put the chicken and wings into a big pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum which rises to the surface. When it is almost at the boil, chuck in all the other ingredients and lower the heat. Simmer gently for around 90 minutes or whenever the TV show you are watching finishes (anywhere between 50 minutes and 2 hours I find is ok) Let it cool for a few minutes then strain it into a big bowl. Unless you are using it straight away, you can let it cool completely now, skim again then divide into smaller batches and freeze.


4 chicken wings, chopped into a couple of pieces each (cleaver can be useful for this)

½ carrot, diced

½ onion, diced

¼ leek, diced

6 big button mushrooms, sliced

A bouquet garni (I used 5 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs parsley and a bay leaf tied together)

3 cloves garlic, halved

100ml half decent white wine- I used Chardonnay but that was what I had open at the time

1L of reserved chicken stock

100ml cream


Heat some olive oil in a big pan and add the chopped wings. Don’t stir too much initially or the wings will sweat instead of fry-you are trying to achieve some caramelization at this stage for flavour. Once the wings are browned add the vegetables and continue to fry them until golden, then add the boquet garni.

 Now, add the wine- the pan should be hot enough that it sizzles and spits a bit, and if you’re showing off and have a gas flame you can flambé at this stage too, but this can be underwhelming with wine as it has a relatively low alcohol content. Reduce the wine to almost nothing; this step is quite important as the wine gives the sauce acidity to balance it (Mensa Adam would say it gives the sauce piquancy). Add the chicken stock and reduce it by two-thirds. Strain the sauce and discard the solids.

A few minutes before serving add the cream and simmer gently until ready to serve. I used a stick blender to aerate the sauce a wee bit in the competition, which is a tad wanky but it suited the delicate nature of the dish. Probably unnecessary if you accompany it with something a little more hearty like the roast chicken I made when I had this sauce at home.

I tried growing my own baby carrots. I was hoping for long, slender delicate little carrots and mine are a little stumpy. They taste good though!


22 responses to this post.

  1. this is awesome.

    now a step-by-step on how to make those macaroons! lol.


  2. Aha, the carrots we grow at home turn out the exact same!
    Some of ours used to grow all curly.
    Can’t wait to try this next time i cook dinner 🙂


  3. Posted by Nathalie Tran on August 2, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Ohh! I shall try it later (: and i agree with Nicole, put up a recipe on Macaroons please 😀


  4. Posted by K on August 2, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Great post!!


  5. lovely carrots!!

    i’ve been trying to grow my own herbs but they always end up in the bin after 3-4weeks 😦


  6. Posted by Caitlin on August 2, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Haha ‘a tad wanky’! You are a funny one! 🙂
    Could you please put up the recipe for your dessert you did in the 7 deadly sins challenge? It looked delicioussssssss!


  7. Posted by anneke :D on August 2, 2010 at 6:45 am

    i love you callum…


  8. Posted by Alex on August 2, 2010 at 7:48 am

    tad wanky? lovin’ it.


  9. Posted by greg tait on August 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

    This sounds delish , and the pics worked out well..
    looking forward to next recipe ..


  10. Posted by Nina on August 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Naww I saw him at the iphone4 launch at testraa!

    follow me !


  11. Posted by shanghaisally on August 2, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Macaroons! Macaroons! Macaroons!

    Your carrots look so cute and chubby. Thanks for the recipe.



  12. For everyone looking for the macaron/macaroon recipe from London, it’s here:
    I’ve made it twice now with great success, but you really do need to sift all the dry ingredients at least three times to get a lovely smooth dome.

    Thanks for the post on the stock and veloute, my vegetarian husband actually mentioned that he would consider starting to eat meat again by starting with a great tasting stock or sauce. This recipe can’t be a bad place to start!


  13. Thanks for this recipe, Callum! I’ve never made basic chicken stock from scratch, lol – so it’s great to have this recipe handy! And GREAT to see you blogging! Welcome to the blogging world and keep up the good work 🙂


  14. When will you believe me that ‘piquancy’ is a real word? (Great recipe BTW)


  15. Posted by Michelle Jackson on August 2, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I was hoping you’d post this recipe, but I can’t figure out how to print it out? Suppose i’ll have to wait for one of the kids to get home from school, LOL.


  16. Posted by Alex on August 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    It’s always fascinating to read someone else’s recipe and method for chicken stock, like a private glimpse into their mind & heart. Nobody’s is quite identical to anyone else’s, and everyone thinks theirs is the uncontested best. Thanks for yours! I’ll use your recipe for my next batch, and I’ll toast to you as I make it.


  17. Callum, your carrots made me laugh so much. Nevertheless, I tried growing herbs once and they just died, so you have done better than me.


  18. Posted by Kirsten on August 7, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Hi Callum.
    Good on you for having a go at growing your own veg. Generally when carrots turn out like that the ground is too hard or too clay like. They like friable free draining soil and a fair bit of nutrient. We found out the hard way. First batch of ours were all forked in two. Poor carrots were just trying to search for somewhere soft to stretch out!
    Can’t wait to try the recipe. Will need to leave out the onions though as I have fructose malabsorption. Thanks.


  19. Hey Callum,
    I realise it’s been a while and I see you haven’t posted anything new in months either, however, I was wondering, would you think it’s a good idea to make this sauce vegetarian? For my boyfriend this recipe is absolutely fine, but since meat makes me ill but the sauce sounds delicious, I’m really interested to hear if you have any specific tips when making a vegetarian version of your stock and sauce.


    • Hi Rebekkah,
      Vegetarian sauces can be just as delicious. I know a chef who swore a spoonful of vegemite into the stock was the way to go! If you are making a vegetable stock you could add extra herbs or vegetables (such as fennel) to ensure it is full-flavoured. There isn’t gelatin in vegetarian stocks either so they tend to not be as thick when reduced- if necessary thicken with a small amount of cornflour or arrowroot, or emulsify in more butter at the end. This obviously depends on if you are vegetarian or vegan.




      • Wow, vegemite really? I actually think my dad (who is a chef) mentioned that once a few years back, but I never likes the stuff. So, might have to buy it for the first time in my life then.
        Okay Fennel then, I had leek last night so maybe I’ll use some of that too, because leek is just delicious!
        Thankfully I’m just a vegetarian, I really don’t understand where vegans get all the necessary nutrients from, so butter is definitely an option for me; yay!

        Thanks for the tips!

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