Proper Bechamel Sauce.

We keep an index book of recipes that we like, and rely on. It has several entries for Bechamel sauce, but only one of them can be the best.

There’s one in “The DIY Cook”, by Tim Hayward, and he’s really, really good, and so is his sauce…

There’s another, in Rick Stein’s “Secret France”, and do you know what? He’s really good as well, and the photography in his recent books is at pure genius level…

There are several other recipes…

But my favourite recipe for Bechamel Sauce is in an oldie but goodie, “Mediterranean Cooking” by Hilaire Walden. Fans, you are in luck. It’s still available, on Amazon, and it’s really cheap. This is so good that I haven’t bothered to see if Nigella does a good one. I bet she does, though…


  • A pint of milk
  • 1⁄4 of an onion
  • A chopped up carrot
  • A fair bit of parsley
  • At least one bay leaf
  • 50g of unsalted butter
  • 25g of plain flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper, if you like
Bung the milk in a pan, with the onion, carrot, parsley, and bay, bring it gently to a boil, cover it, and turn off the heat. Beat the eggs in a jug, or some container you prefer.

Let those sit for 15 minutes, while you do this in another pan. Melt the butter, stir in the flour, and let it cook for about a minute. A lot of cookery books tell you to cook it until it smells “biscuity”. I’ve never detected that smell from butter and flour, but if you can, that’s your guideline. I can’t smell saffron, let alone biscuity, so I ignore that instruction, and stir it until it is smooth.

Next, strain the milk into it, and throw the stuff in the strainer away, unless you can think of some arcane use for it.

Simmer the mixture for about five minutes, then take it off the heat, stir it like fury, while pouring in the beaten eggs as slowly as you can, tip it on top of your already partly cooked moussaka, or whatever other dish you are improving, and finish cooking it…