Marinades and Sauces

Marinades and Sauces

Having a few marinades and sauces in your repertoire is such an important part of day-to-day cooking. Not only will it make your life ten times easier when trying to think of yet another exciting way of jazzing up a chicken leg, but it will also save you a huge amount of time – and money – in the long run and will definitely add a bit pizzazz to your suppers.

In this little section, you will see a few of my personal favourite marinades and sauces that can all be made in advance. Many of these will help you to use up some of the herbs and spices you buy for one recipe that end up in the salad drawer in the fridge, never to see the light of day again.

For storing marinades and sauces, invest in a few Kilner jars or, if you can’t stretch to that, some jam jar covers that you can pop onto sterilised glass jars of your choosing. You can sterilise the jars in some boiling water or in the microwave. As long as the top of your sauce or marinade has a little layer of olive oil on top to stop it oxidising and is in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, it will last in the fridge for a few weeks.


Use harissa with lamb, fish, chicken, prawns or halloumi.

Makes 300g …a little goes a very long way

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon carawy seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

4 tablespoons tomato purée

250g fresh or tinned chopped tomatoes

4 hot chillies, with seeds

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 shallots, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Dry roast your spices in a frying pan for 3–4 minutes, then grind them to a smooth powder in a spice grinder or using a pestle and mortar. Blend the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, chillies, garlic and shallots to a smooth paste in a food processor then add the spices.

2. Now transfer the whole mix to a pan and simmer for 10 minutes on a very low heat. Pour the contents into your sterilised jar and cover with the olive oil. Seal well. This will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.

Indian Curry Paste

This is a really generic paste that I use for many curries.

1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves, peeled

2–3 green or red chillies

1 tablespoon tomato purée

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground cloves


Combine all you ingredients except the oil in a food-processor and blitz until smooth. Store in an airtight, sterilised contained and cover with the oil to stop it oxidising. This paste will last 1 month in the fridge. It can also be frozen in ice cube trays if you prefer.

Barbecue Sauce

Smother this barbecue sauce on chicken or beef ribs, and cook my Barbecue Brisket on page 000.

2 tablespoons tomato purée

4 tablespoons tomato ketchup

200ml Coca Cola

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. This sauce will keep for up to 1month in the fridge in an airtight, sterilised jar.

Sticky Asian Sauce

I love this on pork chops, but it also makes a great sauce for a stir-fry.

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

2 red chillies, roughly chopped

1 lemongrass stick, roughly chopped (optional)

6 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

2 teaspoons runny honey

zest and juice of 2 fat limes

2 teaspoons all spice or Chinese five spice

Blend all the ingredients together and store the mixture in a sterilised bottle in the fridge. This sauce is perfect for marinating fish, chicken and prawns.

Green Thai Curry Paste

Not only will this paste make you a fantastic curry, it doubles as a brilliant marinade .

4 long green chillies

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 lemongrass stick, bashed and roughly chopped

zest and juice of 3 limes

6 Kaffir limes leaves (dried is fine)

1 large bunch of coriander (including the stalks)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

Start by blending the chillies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass together in a food-processor to form a paste. Then add the remaining ingredients and blitz until smooth. This paste can be stored for up to 1 month in the fridge in a sealed and sterilised container.


Pesto is traditionally a paste made with basil, but who says it can’t be made with any other herbs? I often make a coriander pesto or use a combination of herbs that need using up. Follow my basic quantities below and try a few different combinations: red pepper and walnut, sun-blushed tomato and hazelnuts or coriander and lime. Be as creative as you wish. Stir it or spread it – pesto can be used for a whole host of recipes.

Makes 1 x 200g jar

50g toasted pine nuts (or use hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts)

50g grated Parmesan cheese (or use Pecorino cheese)

1 large bunch of basil, picked (or use coriander or parsley)

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or grated

zest and juice of 1 lemon

150ml olive oil

Blitz the ingredients in a food-processor or pound in a pestle and mortar until you have a textured paste. Store Pesto in a sterilised, airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can also freeze it.


For those of you who think I’ve gone slightly bonkers and have no idea what I’m talking about, this is an Argentinean spicy salsa. It works perfectly with red meat, beef particularly, but is also a brilliant accompaniment or marinade for seafood. I often buy meat when on offer, smother it in this marinade and freeze it. The acidity in the salsa tenderises the meat and makes it super tasty.

Chimichurri also makes a fantastic dressing on a robust salad and is great mixed through pasta. This fragrant and spicy little number deserves a place in all fridges.

Makes 1 x 200g jar

3 long red chillies, deseeded if preferred and finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, peeled and grated

1 large bunch of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dried or fresh oregano (or use fresh coriander)

5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

5 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together well and store in air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Try to wait 24 hours before eating, if you can resist the temptation.

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