Thursday, 16 February 2017

Macaroni Cheese Crumble

Due to other commitments Mrs Larry couldn't come away this half term so I took the opportunity to take just Little Larry away for a spot of father and son bonding. We had a great time exploring Derbyshire and found a wonderful set of waterfalls among the ruins of old mills at Lumsdale. From my point of view it was great to be with just one child and dedicating all my attention on him, rather than splitting it between all three kids and not really concentrating on any of them. We shall definitely be doing more individual trips away with each Little Larry in the future.

Moving on to cooking, as Little Larry's favourite meal is macaroni cheese I thought we could have a go together at making it and hopefully teach him a few basic culinary skills along the way. The crumble bit comes from a topping of breadcrumbs and parmesan which adds a crunchy texture to that gooey, cheesey, carby heaven.


Ingredients:
serves 4-5

250g Dried macaroni
200g Grated Cheddar cheese
35g Grated parmesan cheese
35g Breadcrumbs
35g Butter
300ml Milk
150ml Double cream
1x Garlic clove, crushed, diced or grated
1x Onion, finely diced
1x Pinch of nutmeg
2tbsp Flour
1tsp English mustard


Method:

1. On a medium/low heat sweat off the onion in a frying pan in 5g of the butter for about 10 minutes then add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes (Carnivores can add some chopped bacon here too). We're looking for slow caramelization so keep stirring and be careful it doesn't burn.
2. While the onions are are cooking boil the macaroni in salted water for about 8 minutes.
3. In a saucepan melt the remaining 30g of butter and add the flour, stir with a whisk and cook for about 2 minutes then add a good glug of milk. Keep stirring and slowly adding milk until you have a white sauce then mix in the cream, nutmeg and mustard before adding the cheddar cheese in batches. Taste the sauce and season with pepper and salt if needed.
4. Drain the macaroni then combine with the cheese sauce and onions in an oven dish. Allow to a cool a little before topping with the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan.
5. Cook in the oven on gas mark 5 (190C) for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden. We roasted cherry tomatoes at the same time and wilted some spinach leaves by mixing them through the hot tomatoes and oil before serving.
6. Plate up and tuck in!




Friday, 30 December 2016

Longleat Slow Cooker Pork and Bacon

After spending a chilly winters day in Longleat Safari Park and Festival of Light, the thought of returning to the cosy van with a slow cooker stew waiting to be dished up was simply divine. No cooking needed to be done as this stew has enough veggies, proteins and carbs in it so it was just a case of fill up a bowl and tuck in.



Ingredients:

750g Stewing pork
4x Rashers smoked back bacon, chopped
150g Baby button mushrooms
1x Onion, diced
1x Red pepper, chopped
1x green pepper, chopped
1x garlic clove, crushed
6x Shallots, peeled
300g Mini carrots, peeled
600g Potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal sizes
1x Parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/2 Celeriac, peeled and chopped
300g Broth mix (pearl barley, lentils, etc)
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
1tsp Caraway seeds
1tsp Smoked paprika
1x Bay leaf
2L Stock, hot
2x Slices of bread


Method:

1. Season the meat with salt and pepper then brown in batches in a frying pan and add to the slow cooker.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and cover with the hot stock (you might not need it all). Top with the slices of bread and cook on low for 10 hours.
3. Stir well and dish up!

Tip:
Adding slices of bread to the top of a casserole works as a thickening agent. the bread slowly melts into the stew and thickens it. I learned about this tip from the Belgium recipe of Stoofvlees.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Gammon, Egg and Chip-Henge

I have mentioned before how the temperature difference between the top and bottom shelf in a caravan oven can be frustratingly far apart. Usually it is a nuisance but occasionally it can work in your favour when you have two dishes that need to be cooked at different temperatures. In this case I had chips that need a hot oven on the top shelf with the gammon at the lower temperature on the bottom. We were going to visit Stonehenge today but plans changed so I recreated it with chips. If you are going to do anything like this you need to make sure you have some square cut ends so at least some of your uprights will stand up. Food should not only be tasty but good fun too!


Ingredients:

1kg Gammon
Potatoes, peeled and chipped
Eggs


Method:

1. Put the oven on gas mark 6. Cover the gammon loosely with foil and put on the top shelf for half an hour.
2. Turn the oven up to gas mark 8 and move the gammon to the bottom shelf. Heat some oil in a roasting dish on the top shelf.
3. Pop your chips into the hot fat and turn regularly until done (about an hour or so).
4. Remove the gammon from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Fry eggs.
6. Slice the gammon and plate up!