Makes 300ml/½ pint/1¼ cups
300ml/½ pint/1¼ cups milk
1 slice onion
8 whole black peppercorns
1 mace blade
1 bay leaf and a few parsley stalks
25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
15g/½oz/2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and ground black pepper
1 Put the milk, onion, peppercorns, mace and herbs in a pan. Bring almost to the boil, remove from the heat, then cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain into a jug.
2 Melt the butter in a clean pan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until cooked but not coloured.
3 Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the infused milk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
4 Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Simmer gently for 2 minutes.