The essence of being a good cook is all about having patience and being prepared for situations. If you suddenly want to make a sauce, it is utterly boring if you have to simmer ingredients for a while first. So, if you are practical, every now and again you could make some of this sauce in advance and freeze it in little old yoghurt tubs or ice-cube trays. Then when a whim hits you, as it did me in the Snowy Mountains, you already have some ready.
Melt the butter in a medium pan and fry the shallots for about 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in the red wine and stock, then stir in the tomato purée. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve the sauce as it is or whizz until smooth in a food processor or blender.
© 1991 Keith Floyd estate. All rights reserved.