Browsing Tag

pasta

Heston’s Macaroni and Cheese

Recipes May 26, 2012

 

Hello blogging world.

I know I keep saying this, but sorry again for the lapse between posts. I’ve been finding it a little bit hard to get the time to cook, let alone photograph and do some writing.

Here’s a little update on what’s been up with me lately ­čÖé

I burned my hand a little while ago in a misadventure in the kitchen and had to go to hospital. Fortunately they were quite forthcoming with the fun drugs and after a less than fun experience, my hand is healing up well – hopefully with no long term scarring. I had to have a week off work though as it made typing and driving impossible!

Here is a fun pic of me at the hospital with my lil bandaged hand. And yes, I am smiling because of the drugs. Haha.

A good friend of mine introduced me to Heston Blumenthal cooking videos and I’ve been hooked ever since! He convinced me to poach eggs for the first time and they were soo good I made them twice in one day!

They came out so deliciously buttery soft and the yolk was sooo rich.

Check out Heston’s method for poaching eggs by clicking here.

The only thing I have against Heston now is that I can’t stop thinking about his deliciously drool-worthy recipes. I can’t get the thought of his amazing roast chicken out of my mind, but who has two or so days time to brine, dry out and roast a chicken? Sorry, not me! That doesn’t stop the image of juicy roast chicken from floating through my mind though…

Nothing else much new to report, except that I’m back from my trip to Fiji a couple of months ago and I’m off to Rome for the first time in less than three weeks. I’ve never done this much traveling so close before! Loving it. ┬áI’m visiting Venice, Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento. Do you guys have any travel tips for me? I’d sure love to hear them!

Now, onto the cooking.

As I said, I’ve been drooling all over Heston’s recipes at the moment but a lot of them require an awful lot of time and effort – and as those who have read my blog in the past – that’s just not me! I love things that are simple and easy to throw together. Fortunately, Heston’s recipe for macaroni and cheese┬áseemed like one of his more simpler recipes.

How to Cook like Heston’s Macaroni and Cheese
(click the above link for original recipe). this recipe is slightly adapted.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams macaroni pasta (Heston used much less and my pasta was much less saucy. I just used the whole packet and probs should have made more sauce. Whoops. Sauce/pasta ratio wasn’t too bad though.)
  • 15ml truffle oil (I┬ádidn’t have any, so i skipped this. Would love to add some next time, when I have some!)
  • 300ml white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock (I used Campbells Real Chicken Stock from the tetra pak)
  • 80 grams cheddar cheese (I used maybe 90 grams of Cracker Barrel Gold Cheddar)
  • 10 grams corn flour
  • 80 grams cream cheese
  • 15g goats cheese, diced (I skipped this)
  • cheese for topping (I used grated parmesan)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until cooked. Drain and toss with truffle oil (if using.) Set aside.

Prepare cheddar cheese by grating into a bowl and tossing with cornflour. Set aside.

To make sauce, reduce white wine over high heat until it reaches about 30ml (or a tenth of what you started with.) Pour in chicken stock and heat until quite hot but not boiling. Take off the heat and add grated cheese and cornflour mixture and stir until cheese melts. You may need to return the pan to the heat to help the cheese melt, but don’t allow it to boil (as Heston says this may allow the cheese to squeeze the fat out and ruin the sauce.)

Add cream cheese and incorporate into the sauce until it is smooth and creamy. Add cooked pasta and stir through until pasta is hot. Add seasoning if desired. I added some dried parsley flakes for added colour. If you are using the goats cheese, add to pasta just before serving. Serve, with freshly grated parmesan.

Verdict

This was quite a nice dish, but to be honest I didn’t completely love it. I think its the sort of recipe you really need to experiment with using different cheeses. I used quite a strong cheddar (and I’m hardly a cheese┬áconnoisseur by a long shot!) so I just picked up this hard cheese from the cold section at Coles – but they had a very wide variety, so honestly I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of result I’d get from each cheese. Heston uses a Spenwood cheese in his original recipe but recommends substituting it with a good quality cheddar if you couldn’t find it (which I couldn’t, not at Coles anyway!) I picked a Cracker Barrel Gold Cheddar to use and topped with a little freshly grated parmesan.

For me, I think I’d use a different, milder variety of cheese next time and I’d probably add either some herbs (fresh chives would be good) or something else (I was thinking maybe some sweet corn) to add a shot of sweetness and balance out the sharpness of the cheese.

I enjoyed learning a new method of making a cheese sauce outside of starting with a roux, though so that was definitely a nice change that I will be using again! I definitely would like to try out some different cheeses as well as the addition of goats cheese and truffle oil next time.

xoxo
Christine

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final-seasoning

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta Bake

Recipes April 12, 2010

Mmmm. This pasta bake (I have to say), is amazing. It’s creamy. It’s garlicky. It’s cheesy. It has mushrooms and chicken. Seriously, how could you go wrong? The most awesome thing about this pasta dish is that it’s also incredibly easy. It’s also not an overly expensive dish to make and can feed quite a large group (or give you tasty leftovers for the rest of the week.) It is also versatile. You can toss in a whole bunch of other ingredients to give it that special flavour you want. This pasta dish only has one downfall and that is that it is not exactly low in fat. But hell, once you taste it, you probably won’t care.

Ok, enough self praise! Getting down to business.

This is a large serving. I made it for a dinner party and it can serve about eight to ten people (especially if you have a side dish of salad.)

Ok we’ll start out with the sauce. We’ll be needing two large onions (more if you’re into that sort of thing;), plain flour, cream of mushroom soup, garlic and butter. We’ll also be needing milk, but milk was being unreasonable and refused to be photographed.

Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy based pot (you’ll be needing a large one if you don’t halve the recipe!)

While it’s melting, grate about four cloves or garlic (more or less, depending on how garlicky you want it. If you’re me, that’s a lot. lol.)
When butter starts to bubble, throw in garlic and until it becomes fragrant. Add chopped onion and saute.

Add in flour, tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk until it becomes a smooth roux.

Gradually add milk, half cup by half cup, whisking the whole time to ensure smoothness. Add in can of cream of mushroom of soup and stir. Add in 1/2 a cup of shredded grated cheese and stir until fully melted. Adjust thickness of sauce by adding more flour to thicken or more milk to thin to your liking. If you like, you can freeze quantities of this sauce (before adding the chicken) for future use.

Shred BBQ chicken (or do beforehand, as I did).

Add shredded chicken to sauce.

In a separate pot, boil pasta shells in hot salted water with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the shells from sticking until pasta is al dente. Drain. Add cooked pasta to sauce and mix through.

Season with salt and pepper and taste.

Now if you were serving this as a pasta dish, you could serve it now with a fresh side salad. If you wanted to turn it into a pasta bake, leave pasta dish in the pot (make sure this is an oven safe pot, by the way-) and sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and extra cheese and place in oven to bake. Serve when cheese is melted and golden.

Enjoy!

Here is a quick list of the ingredients for your convenience.

Ingredients

1 large family sized 750 gram packet of shell pasta, cooked
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic, grated
4 tablespoons of butter
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (i used Campbells)
1 C grated tasty cheese
4 tablespoons of plain flour
2 cups of milk (more or less. depends on how thick you want your sauce.)
the shredded meat of 1 large BBQ chicken
seasoning

Optional extra ingredients: peas/corn, fresh mushrooms, other vegies you want to toss in (broccoli or cauliflower would go well.) You can also sub chicken for a can of tuna which is equally delicious and oh so slightly healthier.

1. Melt butter in heavy based, oven safe pot.
2. When it begins to bubble, throw in grated garlic and onion and allow it to become fragrant. Stir gently.
3. Add flour, tablespoon at a time, whisking to avoid lumps.
4. Add milk, 1/2 cupful at a time, whisking still, to ensure smoothness.
5. When milk has been fully incorporated, add in 1/2 a cup of cheese and cream of mushroom soup. Taste sauce (it should be quite salty from the mushroom soup). You can also adjust thickness with extra milk or flour. If freezing portions of your sauce, do so here.
6. Add in shredded chicken and cooked pasta and mix well.

Optional. For a pasta bake, add extra cheese and half a cup of breadcrumbs (for crispness) to the top of the pasta bake and then bake until cheese is melted and golden.

Make this one today! It is superrr delicious. ­čÖé

Love ;

Christine

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