In a saucepan on a low heat, stir the flour into the oil, and cook for 5 minutes, making a roux.
Gradually blend in the stock, and cook until smooth and the flour is no longer raw-tasting. Stir in the olives, thyme, lemon zest, and juice to taste, bring to the boil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
This is very good using Seville orange zest and juice in place of the lemon.
Use the oven not just for cooking your Sunday lunch, but for baking all manner of breads and cakes. Baking is not as daunting as it might at first appear, and to demonstrate this, I have developed a recipe for a luscious cake.
If you are going to take the trouble to bake a cake, it may as well be a spectacular one, which your friends will hardly believe you made. Chocolate cakes are universally popular, look impressive, and are in fact so simple a child can make them, especially this version, which uses the all-in-one food processor method of mixing, rather than separately creaming the fat and sugar, then adding the eggs, then the flour. It is based on a recipe my mother taught me when I was eight, only then we used soured milk, not yoghurt, and had never heard of crème fraiche.
The ingredients list and method look long and complicated, but do not be put off. Cakes do require precision and attention to detail. With all baking, whether pastry, biscuits or cakes, I always check quantities and proportions. Just as when I make batter I always check my recipe to see whether it is an equal volume of flour to liquid, or just half. But even if you have never baked a cake before, you can make this one. Serve it as a ‘gateau’ for dessert, or a centrepiece for Sunday tea. I suggest you bake it in the morning, and that way the oven will be heated ready for you to put in the lamb roast.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.