- Plain flour
This is really a skill you have to learn, rather than a recipe…
Warm a bit of milk in a microwave (you don’t have to do this, but it makes the mixing easier).
Put some butter in a small pan and add about half the volume of plain flour. Stir it up until it is bubbling nicely and smells a bit toasty. Then add some of the warm milk and beat it in, add a bit more and beat, and again. Then you can use cold milk to get it to the thickness you want.
For cheese sauce add cheese at the end and more milk if needed. Then use for macaroni cheese, pasta bake or Welsh rarebit.
For parsley sauce add parsley (no surprise there).
It’s great on veg like leeks or carrots.
It can also be the base for some soups – cream of mushroom etc – instead of using actual cream. Similarly for ‘cream’ sauces for pasta. You need to make a very small quantity if it’s for soup or pasta sauce though.
The same principle is used for thickening gravy – use stock instead of the milk, and if you have fat from cooking meat you can use that instead of butter.