Red Velvet Sauce

Peppers are a marvellous ingredient for sauces and you can vary the colour of the sauce according to the pepper used. But I use red peppers again and again for their vibrant scarlet which you can make even more dramatic with a sprinkling of roughly chopped flat-leaved parsley when the sauce is on the plate. This is a lovely, light sauce and is excellent with meat, poultry, vegetables and pasta. I particularly like it with grilled lamb or chicken.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 large red pepper, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced roughly
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, sliced roughly
  • 2 teaspoons bottled green peppercorns, drained and crushed
  • Salt
  • 1–3 pinches cayenne pepper


Put the olive oil, lemon juice, water and tomato puree into a heavy-based saucepan and add the sliced pepper, onion and garlic and a little salt. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes, stirring now and again, until all the ingredients are completely soft.

Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor and whizz to a smooth puree, then spoon the sauce back into the saucepan. Add the crushed green peppercorns and bring the sauce just up to the boil again. Remove from the heat, add salt and cayenne pepper to taste and serve hot in a sauceboat or bowl.