I filmed a new recipe video for the Mum’s Eye View channel* – Macaroni Cheese! After all of my healthy eating (attempted) changes I thought I deserved a bit of a cheese blow-out, though I did eat three slices of tomato and some leaves on the side, so I’m hoping that’s enough of a nod towards my five a day. Ha!
I had never made macaroni before; it’s one of those dishes, like lasagne, that I shy away from because it involves certain technical processes that are shelved away in my mind as “things only my Mum knows how to do”. Making any kind of sauce, especially if it requires mixing flour with liquids and trying not to let it go lumpy, is very firmly in my “only Mum can do that” category. (Other “things only my Mum knows how to do” include – and this is just a few off the top of my head – using a sewing machine, asking in a shop if you can use their staff loo because you’re desperate, knowing when Easter is, programming the boiler to come on at the right time in the morning and putting those hook things into the top of curtains. (Are properly-made curtains not the most complicated-looking things in the world? That webbing with all of the loops and then the clattery curtain rail and – oh God, I just can’t, it brings me out in hives.) There are loads more: I should do the full list one day.)
Anyway, I conquered my fear of flour-mixing and after that, Macaroni Cheese was pretty easy. I’ve written down the method below, but please do watch the video to see me looking all suave and in-control in my new kitchen. (I edited out all of the bits where Mr AMR came in to help me out and stop me from looking a fool.) Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves four if you are feeling really incredibly indulgent, eight if you can only handle so much cheese at once.)
- 250g macaroni
- 50g butter
- 40g plain flour
- ¼ level tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ level tsp dry mustard powder
- 600ml whole milk
- 250g Cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
- 25g fresh breadcrumbs
- I pre-heated the fan oven to 170C, which is why it sounds like a plane’s taking off in my kitchen for most of the video. I then put the macaroni into a large(ish) pan of lightly salted water and cooked it for 13 minutes, but you’ll need to follow your own packet instructions. I drained it in a colander, almost sending half of it down the plughole because the catcher-thing wasn’t slotted in, and then I left it in the colander whilst I got on with the rest of the recipe.
- I melted the butter in my pan, then stirred in the flour, cayenne pepper and mustard powder, stirring with a wooden spoon all of the time and trying to bash out the lumpy bits. I did this for about a minute over a really low heat.
- I gradually whisked in the milk, using a wire whisk, a tiny bit at a time so that the lumps didn’t return. It was actually quite hard work and Mr AMR laughed a lot because the whisking made my breasts joggle around. I did this until the mixture was boiling, whisking all the time, making sure that I took the whisk right into the edges of the pan to catch all of the flour and spices, then I simmered for a minute.
- I took the pan from the heat and stirred in the macaroni and most of the grated cheese, which was very satisfying and gloopy, and I seasoned with salt and pepper. I’ll be honest: I could have done with more seasoning, but it was my first go and nobody’s perfect.
- I poured the mix into an ovenproof dish. At this point the recipe called for sliced tomatoes to be arranged on the top but I have a thing about certain types of cooked sliced tomato, when the skin comes away from the flesh in a horrible stringy circle, and I didn’t want to ruin my macaroni experience. So I just mixed the cheese that hadn’t gone into the main macaroni dish together with the breadcrumbs and then scattered the mix on top.
- I cooked it in the oven for 25 minutes until the topping looked golden and crispy and the dish was hot all of the way through.
- I ate one portion of macaroni at lunch and then another at dinner, then one before bed which meant that I had ridiculously weird dreams. In one of them, I was in an aeroplane serving people helium balloons from a duty free trolley and they were all speaking to me in high-pitched voices. In another, I was travelling across Africa with my possessions in a bucket but they kept falling out through a hole in the bottom. Analyse that!
*this recipe has been taken from ASDA’s Good Living site. The video and this post have been sponsored by ASDA’s Mum’s Eye View channel.