After days and days of feeling less than worthy in a body that felt less than glamorous, I wanted to cook something that was the complete opposite of weight loss and diet misery. A big screw you to the way my mind has been behaving lately.
Mac ‘n’ cheese. What a magical dish.
whilst it may not be nutritionally dense or packed full of fruit and veg, it will soothe your soul. Watching butter melt into a perfectly golden liquid, feeding in the flour which will fill your kitchen with nutty aromas and then tipping in piles and piles of cheese. There will never be anything more satisfying (apart from actually eating) than watching cheese melt into a bubbly pool of goodness.
This is one of the few dishes that I love to cook without even glancing at a recipe. By looking, tasting and trusting as you go, you can watch the magic unfold. So here’s a very rough around the edges recipe that you can tweak and adjust to your own tastes.
Butter (roughly 100-150g)
Plain flour (roughly 3 table spoons)
Milk (A few glugs)
Cheese (lots of it) – I used 4 different cheeses: Cheddar, red Leicester, Parmesan (in a pot, now I’d prefer fresh Parmesan that I can grate, but that’s what happens when you send your husband to do the food shop) and a German Smoked cheese, but really you can use anything. I love smokey, nutty flavours so these worked well.
Mustard, salt and pepper to taste
We’re going to make a bechamel sauce to begin with, which is the base for many a sauce.
Melt your butter in a pan on a low heat (we don’t want to burn it)
Once melted, add in your flour, slowly. A little at a time until it forms a paste like substance.
Pour in your milk a little at a time to ensure it doesn’t go lumpy, lumpy sauces are no fun.
It should all thin out and you’ll be left with a milky looking sauce.
Now it’s time to add our mountains of glorious cheese!
So grate all of the cheese you need, Now you may have noticed I haven’t said how much. this is when taste testing comes in! Add in a handful of cheese, stir into your sauce, let it melt and then add a little more. Taste as you go, think about what’s needed? More cheese? What type? Nutty? Smokey? creamy? Once you are happy with the taste then lower the temperature and leave for a moment whilst we cook the macaroni, make sure you stir every now and again.
If however, you get to a point like I did, when your tasting and tasting but something is missing then add a little mustard, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. It really made all the difference.
Once happy, like I said, It’s time to cook up the macaroni. Pop a good amount into a pan, cover in water and bring to a boil.
Now we want to cook the pasta to the point where it’s still a little crunchy (not too crunchy, we don’t want to chip a tooth). The reason we do this is because it will still cook a little once placed in the oven.
Now add the mac to the cheese and give it a good stir.
Once everything is covered evenly, scoop it all out into an oven proof dish and place in the oven for 20-30 mins, you can add a little grated cheese on top for added cheesyness (because you can never have too much).
Once the top is a beautiful golden brown colour, bring the dish out of the oven (with oven gloves!) serve up onto a plate and enjoy with zero guilt! You could add some veggies or some protein, or you could do what I did, come home from a yoga class and eat it for breakfast with a cup of coffee!