Fresh Mint Sauce (serves 4)
Mint sauce is a tradition with lamb in the UK (also redcurrant jelly). Growing up we had a large vegetable garden which was both a pleasure and a burden as no one wanted to waste any of the fruits and vegetables and then there were the birds and rabbits to fight off. I seemed to spend a lot of my childhood rather reluctantly picking strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, brussel sprouts, zucchini/squash, digging for potatoes and carrots, shelling peas and broad beans/fava beans – it all sounds idyllic, which it was, but I wanted nothing better than to read my book! Herbs also grew in the vegetable garden – parsley was always on hand (parsley sauce with haddock/cod – delicious), horseradish (mixed with double cream and served alongside Roast Beef), and mint.
Pre-packaged products did not exist as they do today but my mother (an excellent cook and keen follower of Elizabeth David) preferred to cook from scratch. To this day she has never bought mint sauce and if mayonnaise is called for she makes her own.
Mint sauce consists of fresh, finely chopped mint, vinegar and sugar. The blend of the three ingredients is rather vague as some people like their mint sauce tart and others prefer to add more sugar. So, basically, start with 1 oz or 1/2 cup of finely chopped mint (obviously just the leaves). Heat 4 tbsp. red wine vinegar in a saucepan and pour over the mint. Add 1/2 teasp. Agave nectar and stir. Taste and adjust accordingly. No need to season.