From-scratch custard and gravy

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The wonderful thing about making recipes up in Nana’s day was that you got to bring something to the table and say, “I made it from scratch!”

Supermarket shelves now heave with powders that you simply mix with water to make custard or gravy, but I think it’s time we went back to making things the way we used to.

With custard, making it from scratch delivers a delicious, velvety texture. Nowadays, most people buy it ready-made or use custard powder, but nothing will prepare you for how this recipe tastes. If someone in your family needs a bit of spoiling, they will eagerly make their way through a bowl of this.

Some people are wary of making custard, as it can curdle if you apply too much heat too quickly, but this recipe is really easy. And if it does curdle, simply plunge the pot into a basin of cold water, then whip it up in your blender.

on the savoury side, gravy made from scratch not only tastes fantastic, but you’re using up tasty and nutritious juices produced by your meat as it has roasted. This is what adds so much flavour to the gravy and it’s delicious poured over vegetables and meat. If you happen to have any left over, I’ve yet to see a dog who won’t lap it up enthusiastically.

I know many people reading this will say, “Everyone knows how to make gravy!” but believe me, there are many people who simply reach for the gravy powder. However, if you make it from scratch, it not only tastes better, but is better for you too.

From-Scratch CustardReady in 12 minutes Serves 4

Please use the best eggs you can buy for this, preferably organic and free-range. So much of the flavour and bright yellow colour comes from the eggs. I use fresh eggs from my hens and my custard turns out bright yellow with a great taste.

You will need a double boiler for this, or simply put a bowl on top of a saucepan with water in it that you’ve brought to the boil.

5 free-range eggs1 tbsp caster sugar½ tsp good-quality vanilla extract700ml full-cream milk

  1. In the top saucepan of your double boiler (or bowl), whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.
  1. In another saucepan, heat the milk until it’s warm, but not boiling. This is very important.
  1. Start whisking the egg mixture and slowly pour the warm milk into it, whisking all the time. You should end up with a lovely yellow, creamy mixture.
  1. Place this over the boiling water in your double boiler, or place your bowl over a saucepan with boiling water and keep whisking. It will slowly thicken so that it easily coats the back of a spoon. Don’t walk away and leave this, you don’t want it to boil then curdle. Serve warm.

From-Scratch GravyReady in 10 minutes Serves 6

This recipe has been adapted from one that was sent into the Victoria League’s Tried Recipes Cookbook by ors C Griffiths of Grange Rd, ot Eden in 1950.

1 tbsp flour600ml stockWorcestershire sauce

  1. When your meat is cooked, remove from the pan and pour off nearly all the fat.
  1. Stir in the flour and stock, or use water left over from cooking vegetables. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until it thickens. If it’s roast lamb or beef, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce for extra flavour.

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