Leftovers » other stuff » Cooking club/workshop » Cooking class lesson 4; sauce
Cooking club/workshop other stuff

Cooking class lesson 4; sauce

Me trying to fillet a fish (sole)
Me trying to fillet a fish (sole)

I have been told many times that a good sauce is very very important in the kitchen. It brings the dish together and adds an extra dimension to it. So our lesson of yesterday was sauce…

The base of most good sauces is a good broth, which you – ofcourse – make yourself from whatever base you want, be it vegetable, meat or fish based. There are too many sauces to go into details plus I would probably tell you the wrong things.. 🙂 So I’ll just stick to what we made yesterday. I have just gotten the recipe we used from downstairs but there is so much goo on the paper that it is hard to open!! Lol… sauce splashes all over the place!


Tom was gonna be late as he had a meeting at work that would last until about 7 pm (class starts at 6 pm) so I teamed up with Arjen to make a base demi-glace. We got the handout and went to read the instructions as to roughly how we should be making this sauce and then the first thing you read is ‘Mirepoix of carrot, sellery and onion”… Mire…what?? Never would have guessed that cooking would be good for your french as well.. 🙂 (in case you want to know, mirepoix just means that you cut the veggies..)

We didn’t have to prepare our own broth (as that would have taken way too much time) so Rob had prepared various broths of which we use the beefbroth and we started by reducing that by aboout 50% on medium heat. In the meantime we cut the veggies and sauteed those in the butter. Tomato puree is then added and sauteed a little as well to make sure the sourness is gone. Add a little flour and color it brown (you’re making a brown sauce) Deglaze with white wine, add the reduced broth and reduce again with about 50%. Use your best judgment here as it is hard to give qty’s.

We were going to serve the sauce with lambracks, so to give the sauce a little bit of lamb taste as well I baked some pieces of lamb in a frying pan and browned them real nicely, added some red wine and the same base broth we used and added that to the broth as well to simmer along with the sauce to give of taste.

Simmering broth with lamb added already
Simmering broth with lamb added already

While the broth was simmering we set out to fillet a fish (which I think was called a sole in english; tong in Dutch) Obvious we had a fish lesson before but that was months ago and while we did prepare a whole fish since then, it had been a while since I last did the filleting thing…. So… guess what… I kind  of forgot what I needed to do.. oops… Luckily Rob helped us out as I would have mangled the fish completely. I have to keep practicing with things like that!

The tongue was made into little strips and rolled around a steamed asparagus and served with a very strong sauce based on lobster and fish broth. It was a bit on the strong side but still very tasty. In between making the sauce and preparing either the fish or the meat to go with the sauce we sat down to eat it all… To compare  there was a sauce hollandaise and bernaise out of a package as well. Just so we could taste the difference between having a homemade variety versus what is sold in the stores…The packaged weren’t actually that bad, but very bland. I guess you could easily spice that up with additional things just to make it better if you are short on time.

We started with a piece beef of tenderloin with bearnaise sauce that was delicious! Then we had the fillet of sole with some sweatbread as well. (Can’t get used to sweetbread by the way… Not my thing!)

Then there was a recipe with the imaginative title of “Eel in green”. It’s not eel season, so instead it was made with turbot. The sauce was made with spinach which made the whole dish look like eh… well baby poo kind of.. in the green variant.. 🙂 Unfortunately… the spinach was not washed and therefore a bit sandy… mmm, not so good gentleman!

sausWe ended with the lamb with the sauce that we made and it was delicious! Not only because we made it ofcourse.. haha… but it was really really good.

From the base sauce you can make all sorts of other sauces as well, so I am sure we will be experimenting with that a lot.

To make a demi glace you need the following:

(all qty’s are not exact, so use your best judgment here!!)

mixed vegetables such as carrots, sellery and onion 100 gr

herbs such as bayleaf, thyme

tomato puree about 50 gr

white wine, about 0,25 ltr

brown broth, about two liter




  1. Brown the cut vegetables in butter.
  2. Add tomato puree and shortly bake to get rid of the sour
  3. Add flour and color brown
  4. deglaze with white wine
  5. add the broth (simmered down to 50%) and leave to reduce to 50% again
  6. Run the sauce through a sieve and add maizena if you need to
  7. Remove fat and season to taste


Obviously this is the base so you can make all sorts of other sauce from this such as bordelaise (red wine, sjalot, bonemarrow), bigarade (reduced red port, orangejuice, zest, blue curacao), diana (cream, pepper, truffel), chasseur(sjalot, mushrooms, tarragon)etc… Sorry but I only have the french names!

Next week is already the last lesson… boohoo… 🙁


About the author

Simone van den Berg

Food- and travelblogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over.
She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats.
Lives together with Tom and their two cats; Humphrey and Buffy.
Profession: Food photographer


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  • Ahhh, sauces! I still haven’t got round to those! Making the broth is all the effort really, although many restaurants buy their demi-glace ready made. It is strange that in greek sole is also called “tongue” (glossa).

    • It’s true that a lot of restaurants buy their demi-glace ready made, but it is simply not the same as making your own. A lot of the ready made ones contain loads of things that should not be in there, giving it a different taste (or at least so I was told yesterday… 🙂 )

  • Gosh, reading this is really making me want to go out there and take a cooking class! I love experimenting on my own, but it would be nice to be told what to do every now and then, to make sure I’m doing it right!

    And yes, “tong” is “sole” in Dutch. My “Nederlands” is terrible, but I remember learning that word this summer in Belgium!

  • A good sauce can bring elements of a dish together, but a bad sauce can destroy a meal as well!! Reduce, reduce and reduce again, I think is key!!! Your sauce looks fragrant and so intensely delicious!!!

  • I wish I could make sauce like this! I’m so jealous you are taking all these classes. The Culinary Institute of America is 5 minutes from my house so I should really look into taking a few classes.

  • I learned to make a demi – glace in cookery school!!

    I make it every 3 months & let it cool & put it in the freezer!! That is very useful that way!

    Beautiful & lovely pictures, Simone!!

  • Love what you’re learning in all of your classes!
    A good sauce really is a beautiful thing… and I love how a nice basic recipe gives you a place to leap into all sorts of other wonderful things.

  • Glad to see you back! What a great reminder this post is for me – I usually hate making stocks and sauces (a bit like going to the dentist, you need to do it once in awhile but when you get it over with you know you’re good for quite a long while!) – but it really is the foundation to good cooking. I always remember going to great restaurants and saying “what’s in that sauce?!?!”… I may have to make a batch of stock this weekend after reading this! It’s a pity next week is your last lesson – we were all learning a lot along with you!

  • I always thought a demi-glace was tons of work that took hours – maybe what I’m thinking of encompasses the making of the broth, also? I would try this, but maybe use a good quality store bought broth – not enough hours in the day right now to make my own broth. I love all the variations possible with the same brown sauce!

    Thanks for sharing, Simone!

  • Hi Simone

    I have given you an award. Please stop by my blog to pick it up. I gave you the award because I think you are super cool and you are so willing to help lousy photographers like me! I also love the fact that you do a lot of cooking lessons which I do as well!


  • I love following your cooking class adventures and I am so jealous! I’d love to do the same! Sauces do scare me when everything has to start from scratch. Your lamb sauce sounds to-die for!

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Hi. My name is Simone and I believe you can change your life by eating the right foods. I am a certified holistic nutritional coach, food photographer, recipe developer and story teller.

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Travel calendar 2018

March: Blankenberge, Belgium
April: 3 weeks roadtrip through East USA
May: Turkey
May: Germany
June: Germany
September: Newcastle