Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Macaroni Cheese

(Apologies to the original author - I seem to have lost their name.)

Time: 15 minutes for cooking pasta; 25 minutes in the Thermomix; 30-40 minutes baking
Yield: 4 generously

As reassuring as a goodnight kiss, mac ’n’ cheese is comfort food at its best. It ticks every box in the book: it can be made ahead of time in total or in various stages, it can be made just for two or to feed a crowd, reheats like a dream, it won’t break the bank and everyone likes it. And what’s not to like? This ostensibly humble dish pops up on smart menus all over our most food-obsessed cities. We like it as a main dish but it’s also a classic steakhouse side-order and has even been sighted at Neil Perry’s much-awarded Rockpool restaurants. Our recipe uses three cheeses, giving a beautiful creamy texture to the sauce with no graininess, plus depth of flavour. Once you’ve tried this one it will be a bit like pulling on your favourite jeans; you know it will always be good, whatever the occasion.

•             160grams dry macaroni, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente
•             40grams each of cheddar, gruyere and parmesan cheeses, cut into pieces
•             500grams full-cream milk
•             ¼ onion, peeled
•             1 bay leaf
•             2 whole cloves
•             50grams salted butter
•             50grams plain flour
•             1teaspoon Dijon mustard
•             1 egg yolk
•             1 pinch salt and ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced.
2. Place all three cheeses in the mixing bowl and chop 5 seconds/speed 8. Set aside.
3. Pour the milk into the mixing bowl and add the onion, bay leaf and cloves. Infuse by heating 5 minutes/60 degrees/reverse/speed 1.
4. Pour the milk and flavourings into a jug and allow it to stand and infuse for a further 5 minutes or so.
5. Meanwhile, place the butter into the mixing bowl and melt 3 minutes/60 degrees/speed 2.
6. Add the flour and cook 4 minutes/Varoma/speed 4. The mixture should be sizzling slightly and look a little sandy; if not cook a minute further.
7. Strain the warm milk back in to the mixing bowl then Cook 5 minutes/90 degrees/speed 4. Then cook again 2 minutes/100 degrees/speed 4, the mixture should be boiling at the end of the cooking time.
8. Take the lid off and allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes. Then add the grated cheeses, mustard and egg yolk. Mix 30 seconds/speed 4.   
9. Combine the sauce with the cooked macaroni and turn into a buttered 1-litre shallow ovenproof dish.
10. Bake in the centre of the oven at 170C (fan-forced) for 30-40 minutes, the sauce should be bubbling at the sides and the top nicely browned.
11. Serve with greens and crusty bread.

AND … Your call as to when to boil the macaroni. You can do it while the sauce is in the Thermomix so they’re ready at about the same time but if you cook the pasta first, give it a light coating of butter or oil as soon as it’s drained so it doesn’t form clumps while you’re waiting for the sauce to cook. Or, keep the finished sauce in the fridge for a day or three until you’re ready to boil the pasta and do the bake.

I think the recipe is great BUT I wonder is a little more cheese is required. You try it nad tell me what you think

Caesar Salad Dressing

I had to make this when I didn’t realise we had none in the fridge!!

Servings:  enough for about 8 salads
Total Time: 12 Minutes


1 small garlic cloves, minced
1 small anchovy
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt and freshly gound pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
Add the mayonnaise, parmesan, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Season to taste.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Superb Onion Gravy

This is one of those sauces that is a must when you are eating comfort food such as bangers and mash. No fancy bangers – just good quality pork ones and use Mozart variety potatoes for a lovely mash - don't forget plenty of butter!!

Ingredients (enough for 2 people)

  • 50gms of butter (slightly salted)
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • ½ tbps of plain flour
  • 50ml of red wine (I use Cote du Rhone)
  • 200ml of good beef stock
  • ½ tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp of Colemans english mustard
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (careful with the salt)

Melt butter in a pan and then cook onions until soft. Reduce heat and cover. Cook until unions are brown which is about half an hour or so.
Stir in the flour can cook for a few minutes – stirring.
Add all of the other ingredients (except salt & pepper) and simmer for about 20 mins – stirring occasionally.

When done, season to taste.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Red Onion Relish

This is a perfect accompaniment to my Foie Gras Burgers! You will have to wait for that recipe!

  • 4 Medium Onions (red) – finely sliced
  • 50 gms of butter
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Cook the onions in the butter over a low heat for about 15 minutes until soft.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the liquid is syrupy. Cool and then strore in the fridge until required.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sweet Potato Soup - with a dash of curry!

There seems to be a lot of sweet potatoes in the shops at the moment, so what better time of the year to make a hearty soup!

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 600gms of sweet potatoes
  • 50gms of butter
  • ½ large or 1 small onion
  • 700ml of decent chicken or vegetable stock
  • Heaped dessertspoon of curry paste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.
  • Cream (as required)

Peels and chop the veg and heat with the butter and curry paste in a pan for a few minutes. (If using the Thermomix, chop on speed 5 for 6 seconds.)
Add the stock and simmer until soft. (In the Thermomix, 12 mins/speed2/100deg)
Liquidise using a stick blender (Thermomix 1 minute, speed 9)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
I tend to use Balti Paste but any form of curry paste to your preference will do.
Pour into a bowl, add a splash of cream if you want and  serve with some warm bread. sit in a chair by a fire and enjoy!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Guinness Bread

Want to be able to make an impressive bread? One that is easy as well? then here you go!


  • 325g of Malted Blend stoneground wholemeal flour
  • 125g of plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbps of Demerara sugar
  • 50g of butter
  • 1 tbsp (heaped) baking soda
  • 300ml of Guinness
  • 150ml of milk
  • 2 tbsp of treacle

Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl (except the soda) and rub in the butter until the mixture is even and looks like breadcrumbs, lifting as you go. Add the soda to the mixture and mix thoroughly. Add Guinness, milk and treacle to the dry mix and mix until you have an even wet mix. Put in a baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour until risen and hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire tray.

This bread is so easy to make and there is no proving etc. It is quite a heavy bread but cut thinly it is delicious with cheese, pate or soups. Or simply with some good butter!

Simple Roasted Nectarines

I love simple dishes especially if they are easy and tasty as well! This makes for a very easy pudding and you will wish you had cooked one extra nectarine! Maderia is quite a rich sweet wine which you may not have. A dessert wine could be used or just replace with water and add a little extra sugar to the water in the tray.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 4 ripe nectarines, halves and stones removed
  • 1 tbsp of demerara sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of butter per half
  • 1 glass of Madeira wine
  • 1 glass of water
  • Pinch of cinnamon per half

What simpler dish than a roasted peach or nectarine!
Prepare the nectarine halves and put into a baking dish. Add the wine and water around the halves (the halves being placed cut side up). Place the butter in the hollow of the nectarine and sprinkle each half with demerara sugar followed by a pinch of cinnamon. Roast for approx 30 minutes in an over at 190degC or until soft and golden. Serve with a couple of spoonfuls of the liquor in the pan and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Simple and delicious.