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The classic recipe I can never get right | Jay Rayner

Everyone has a dish that defeats them – no matter how often they try to make itAll cooks, however competent, have a kitchen skill that defeats them. Some cannot make mayonnaise. Others have a blind spot with pastry. Me? I cannot make bechamel. The first time I tried, it split. It turned into a coagulated, grainy mess, like the milky sick that newborns regurgitate down your back when you burp them. It happened the second time. And the third time. And for ever after that. Now it’s as if the ingredients, the butter and the flour and the milk, can sense my fear and shame. They sit on the work surface staring up at me. We know what you want us to become, they say. We know all about the velvety white sauce you wish us to be. Well, dream on, sucker. Not today.Once, during lockdown, while making souffle Suisse, that indecent Le Gavroche confection of gruyere, cream and whipped, bechamel-enriched egg whites which certain puritanical religious sects would doubtless regard as profoundly immoral, it worked. I made a perfect example. Hooray for me. Nailed it. But it turned out the ingredients were merely laughing at me. Because the next time it split, and the time after that, and so on. Continue reading…