Category Archives: food

Macaroni cheese recipe

Adapted from

4 tbsp butter
350g spiral or other short pasta
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp English mustard powder
6 tbsp plain flour
1 litre semi-skimmed milk
250g/to taste mature cheddar/any combination of strong cheese, grated or chopped into small pieces
strong hard cheese, grated for topping
Fresh breadcrumbs for topping

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
Boil the pasta for 2 mins less than stated on the pack. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the garlic and mustard, cook for 1 min, then stir in the flour.
Cook for 1 min more, then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a lump-free sauce. Simmer for 5 mins, whisking all the time until thickened.
Take off the heat, then stir in the cheese.
Stir the pasta and some seasoning into the cheesy sauce. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, or 4 individual dishes.
Scatter over the hard cheese, then cover with breadcrumbs, then bake for 20 mins until crisp and golden. Can be frozen before baking – defrost thoroughly before cooking.

Additions to the sauce: leeks/onions, bacon

Mushroom pie with rough puff pastry


Made this: chicken_and_wild_mushroom_pie using just mushrooms, clitocybe geotropa to be precise. I made the pastry using Gordon Ramsay’s method: Rough-puff pastry. It worked well, apart from needing twice as many mushrooms as I did use. I ended up bulking out the filling with sprouting broccoli. Also the leaves I put in the centre of the pastry top meant it was thicker there so didn’t cook as well. But I was pleased with my first attempt at rough puff.

25 & 29 Nov 16
Needs baking at 200C. Lower than that won’t puff it up. Let the edges hang over the sides by a half cm or so – helps prevent sinking in the middle and juices leaking out. If keeping some pastry in the fridge for later, don’t roll that part out because, when you unroll it for the next use, it cracks. Might be ok if it is taken out of the fridge a bit earlier though. Let the filling cool before placing pastry on top, otherwise butter in pastry will melt. Leave a gap between the filling and pastryk, otherwise underside of pastry will be soggy. Don’t use egg to glue the crimped edge down as you won’t be able to easily unstick pastry when serving.

Beetroot curry

Adapted from aWaitrose recipe.


400g raw beetroot
2 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 green chillies, seeded and cut into fine strips
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
2 tins coconut milk, thick part only to start with, add thin part as needed
1 Lime, juice


Peel the beetroot (you might want to wear rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands) and cut into matchsticks. Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan, then add the mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to jump, add the onion, garlic and chillies and fry until the onion is tender. Add the remaining spices and beetroot; fry for a further 1–2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 250ml water and a pinch of salt.
Leave to simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beetroot is tender. Stir in the coconut milk, and let it simmer for another 1–2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the lime juice, taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Drinks recommendation

Try a lightly chilled, light-bodied red with this vibrantly colourful curry. The fresh fruit in a beaujolais partners the beetrooty sweetness well.

Beetroot & feta salad

Based on:

500g bunch of beetroot
Block of feta cheese
1 red onion, very finely sliced
Handful of walnut pieces
Fresh coriander. chopped
Chilli to taste, either powder or finely chopped fresh

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp clear honey

Make up the dressing and mix in with the onions. Letting the onions sit in the dressing while the beetroot cooks for a while removes their harshness.
Roast the beetroot at 200C for 40 mins. They should be cooked but still firm enough to dice after being peeled.
After peeling the beetroot, cube it and the feta then mix with the dressing and onions.

To make a simpler version, miss out the onions and dress with lime juice only.
Add chilli and salt to taste
Sprinkle walnuts and coriander on top just before serving

Toad in the hole


I’ve made this twice now, using Nigella’s toad in the hole recipe in Kitchen, except that I don’t make patties out of the sausages. I do fry the sausages to colour them beforehand though.

EDIT: 14 Apr 2014
Best not made in the lasagne dish. Pyrex dish gives a better rise. I baked it for 35 mins only; the one in the photo is a little too dark.

EDIT: 05 Oct 2015
If there is a delay between making the batter and cooking, don’t put the batter in the fridge. It will make it too cold when it hits the hot fat and it won’t rise. Also preheat the oven to 225C beforehand but turn it down to 200C when the batter actually goes in.