Serves 4-6

This always goes down well with some thick slices of ham and mashed potato or pease pudding. You can use this sauce with fish by replacing the ham cooking liquid with fish stock.

30g butter
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
20g flour
1tsp English mustard
150ml milk mixed with 150ml ham cooking liquid
1tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp double cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook the shallots on a low heat for about a minute until soft. Add the flour and mustard and stir well, then gradually add the milk and stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to the boil, season with a little salt and freshly ground white pepper and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often. The sauce should be quite thick by now; if not, simmer a little longer. Add the double cream and parsley and simmer for another minute or so.