Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Don Macaroni

The Don Macaroni

I am one of the biggest lovers of MacNCheese and to say I was chuffed to bits to receive  "Anna Maes Mac N Cheese" cookbook for Christmas is an understatement.  Anna Mae has a food van and they sell Mac N Cheese, that is it, but oh my god, the variations on such a simple recipe is amazing.  I am going to work my way through the recipes and thought I would start with their most popular dish, The Don Macaroni.  I will detail the starter sauce within this post and will refer back to this when posting further recipes.  Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the cook book, visit Amazon, the book is amazing, not only a cook book but funny as well, enjoy.

Starter Sauce
  • 600ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
Place two heavy bottomed pans over a medium heat.  Heat the milk in one pan until hot, but not boiling.  At the same time melt the butter in the second pan, then reduce the heat to low and gradually stir in the flour using a wooden spoon until you have a paste - this is a roux.  Continue to cook, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes, or until the roux turns golden in colour, being careful not to over brown and burn the mixture.

Add the hot milk to the roux a little at a time, stirring vigorously.  Once the mixture is fully combined, turn up the heat to medium and cook for a further 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.  Make sure you stir continuously to keep the sauce smooth and so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Season with salt.

Now for the ingredients for The Don Macaroni
  • 400g macaroni
  • 1 portion starter sauce
  • 230g mature cheddar, grated
  • 90g Monteray Jack, grated
  • 30g Parmesan, grated
  • 8 rashers of dry-cured streaky bacon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the pesto
  • 75ml good quality olive oil
  • 25g grated Parmesan
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • A squeeze of lemon

Method:-
First make the pesto.  Pop the ingredients into a small bowl and blitz with a hand blender or bash in a pestle and mortar until lovely and smooth.  Set aside.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the pack instructions, until al denote.  Tip into a colander and leave to drain completely.

In a heavy bottomed pan make the starter sauce, then reduce the heat to low.  Stir in all the cheese and leave to melt, stirring occasionally to stop the mixture sticking to the pan.  Add the drained pasta to to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly.

Meanwhile fry the bacon until crisp, pouring any fat that collects in the pan into the cheese sauce, mixing well.

Spoon the Mac n cheese into 4 serving bowls, drizzle the pesto over the top and place two of the bacon rashers across each dish.  Garnish with the basil and season with freshly ground pepper.

This was a truly amazing comfort food dinner, I can't wait to get stuck into more of the recipes.

Recipe courtesy of Anna Maes Mac N Cheese cookbook, well worth a buy if you are a lover!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Mexican Meatball Tortilla

Mexican Meatball Tortilla

For the tomato sauce
  • 35ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 X 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of sugar
For the meatballs
  • 1 red onion, grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped, remove the seeds for less heat
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 tortillas
  • Tbsp chopped jalapeños
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Kankun chipotle sauce
  • Kankun habanero sauce
  • Thinly sliced pepper
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Sour cream
  • Pea shoots

Method:-
To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan then add the onion and garlic and fry over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring often until softened but not coloured.  Add the chopped tomatoes with the sugar, season well and turn the heat up so the sauce is bubbling gently, cook for 40 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile make the meatballs.  Put all the ingredients apart from the oil in a bowl.  Season and mix with your hands then roll into 24 walnut sized balls.  Heat the oven to 220 degrees or 200 for fan assisted.  Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.  When hot add the meatballs, frying on all sides for 5-6 minutes until golden.  Drop them into the sauce for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Place your tortillas onto baking trays, spread a tbsp of Kankun chipotle sauce over each base then sprinkle a handful of the grated mozzarella over the top of each tortilla.  Divide the meatballs and sauce over each tortilla and add a further handful of mozzarella over the top.  Add the peppers, red onion and jalapeño and place into the oven for around 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.  Remove from the oven, dollop some sour cream over each tortilla along with a few shakes of the Kankun habanero sauce and garnish with the pea shoots.  This is a really tasty dinner and quick and easy to make.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Tostadas Deluxe

Tostadas Deluxe


  • 2 tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 400g tin pinto or black beans drained
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapeño
  • 1 avocado, halved, stoned, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander 
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (approx half a lime)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ready made corn/flour tortillas
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Pinch of sea salt 

Method:-
Heat the oil in a medium frying pan, add the beans and partially mash them with a fork, then add the garlic, ground cumin and jalapeño, fry for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the red onion, tomato, avocado, coriander and a pinch of sea salt.  Add the lime juice and extra virgin olive oil and toss the ingredients together.

Heat the tortillas in the microwave for a minute.

To assemble the tostadas, spread the bean mixture over the base of each tortilla, then spoon the salad mix over the top and finish with a crumbling of the feta cheese.  For an extra kick I also added Kankun habanero sauce over the top.  This is an ideal meat free Monday dinner with plenty of flavour.  

Recipe courtesy of Mary McCartney "At My Table"

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Turkey Melt

Turkey Melt

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, fingers crossed those hangovers are all gone.  Anyone got any leftover turkey, here is a quick and easy recipe to use it up.
  • 1 French baguette 
  • Turkey slices
  • Salad leaves
  • Blue Brie (or cheese of choice)
  • Mustard & mayo (or cranberry if you still have any knocking around)
  • Sliced tomato
  • Fries

Method:-
Cook the fries according to instructions, I gave these French fries a good dusting with piri piri seasoning.  Cut your baguette into an appropriate size to accommodate your turkey slices and cut down the middle. 

On the bottom half lay your turkey slices and top with slices of the cheese.  

When the fries are nearly done place the baguettes onto a baking tray and place into the oven until the cheese melts.  Plate up the fries, remove the baguettes from the oven and top with salad of your choice.  
On the top part of the baguette smother with a mix of mayo and mustard (or cranberry) place on the tomatoes and place this onto the bottom portion on the baguette and enjoy.  

A quick and easy supper idea to use up that turkey!