I often make macaroni cheese, or some variation of it. I like to play around with adding vegetables, different cheeses or flavours in the sauce. This three cheese and cauliflower macaroni cheese is one of the most delicious I’ve made. The combination of Emmental (for sweetness and stringiness), Cheddar (for bite and cheesiness) and Parmesan (for savouriness) means you get the best of all the cheeses! And don’t worry, there’s a cauliflower in there too; to add a little vegetable healthiness amongst all that indulgence.
Sometimes I end up with an awful lot of veg in my fridge. I use bits and bobs throughout the week but despite my best brassica consuming efforts I still get left with some of it. These leftovers often end up in a soup (my autumn minestrone is a great way to use kale) but recently I wanted to make something different. I really like green veg with pasta so I grabbed my veggies, some gnocchi and cheese and set about making a gnocchi, kale and spinach gratin.
You will need (for two big portions):
Beetroot has to be one of my favourite root vegetables. I love all the different colours you can get and a recent addition to my veg box was a bunch of golden beetroot. At first I thought about boiling it and mixing it with white wine vinegar and some spices. Then I got to thinking about proper comfort food and a golden beetroot remoulade would be the perfect finishing touch to a rather traditional dinner. A fantastically earthy alternative to using celeriac.
You will need (for a good bowlful of remoulade, enough for dinner and leftovers for the next day):
We bought our first ever BBQ this year. Not knowing how much it might get used we went for a basic entry level one which has been great, and it’s getting used at least once a week at the moment. When the BBQ is on I like to be outside, nice cold drink in hand, to watch everything cooking. That’s why these simple BBQ sides are my go to recipes whenever we’re cooking al fresco. I can make them quickly in the kitchen so they are ready to go once the hot food is ready.
Mustard Pickled Cucumber
You will need (for two as a side):
Just look at those Chioggia beetroot. Aren’t they beautiful? Not only do these beetroot, also known as candy beetroot, look brilliant their vibrant stripes can’t fail to cheer you up even on the gloomiest of days. These beetroot, horseradish and salmon sandwiches came about because I love the combination of earthy, sweet beetroot and fiery horseradish with smoked foods. That, and I fancied something for lunch that wasn’t just toast! Another great thing about this variety of beetroot is that you don’t need to clean the entire kitchen after peeling them; they have hardly any of the staining power of their deep purple cousin.
I used to really dislike horseradish, I just didn’t understand why you would want to eat something that makes you pull a face similar to the one you would pull if someone trod on your foot. I had tried it before and had decided to avoid it at all costs from then on; until I ate some by accident in a mini Yorkshire pudding covered with rare roast beef and everything changed. If you’re like me and you’re also on Team Horseradish then you must try this recipe for horseradish celeriac remoulade. If you’re not a fan of the fiery root then just leave the horseradish out; it’ll still be tasty (just not quite the same).
I made this stew on New Year’s Day. I can’t think of many things as warming and comforting as a big bowl of slow cooked food. My beef stew with horseradish dumplings was made up of almost everything I had leftover in my fridge and cupboards; happily simmered away with some beef shin. A delicious, make-the-most-of-everything, homely stew for four people. Trust me on the ingredients; one or two may sound a little out of place but they really add to the dish.
You will need (for four):
It’s always interesting to try something different with a classic. Not content with, although always very welcome, standard macaroni cheese I wanted to add a few bits here and there to make it extra special. I dreamt up my beer, mustard and onion macaroni cheese and set about making it. I wasn’t sure how best to incorporate the beer so I settled on trying out a beer béchamel.
You will need (for 2):
- 150g macaroni
- 25g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 100ml milk
- 200ml beer – preferably a bitter (if you’re not sure what’s what, this guide can help!)
- 50g strong cheddar, grated
- 100g emmental, grated
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 2-3 tsp caramelised onions
- Salt and pepper
Cook the macaroni according to packet instructions. Preheat and oven to 180C.
To make the beer béchamel melt the butter over a medium heat then add the flour. Cook the flour for at least one minute. Mix together the milk and beer then slowly add this to the butter and flour, stirring all the time so you don’t get any lumps. Cook the béchamel for a few minutes until thickened then remove from the heat.
Celeriac has a wonderful flavour, sweetness and crunch and it is at its best (in my opinion) when raw. Uncooked root vegetables must be dressed, it would be rude otherwise, and a classic celeriac remoulade is something I’ve always wanted to try. For me the remoulade needs to have creaminess, some acidity, freshness and a little mustard heat. Combine that with some lovely venison, peppery rocket and tangy sourdough and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven.
You will need (for two big bowls):
- 1 squash (I had an onion squash), chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 3 tsps curry powder
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 sachet concentrated coconut milk
- Handful pumpkin seeds
- ½ tsp each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom seeds
- Oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
Fry the onion in a little oil until starting to soften and then add the garlic. Fry for a minute more and then stir in the curry powder.
Keep frying for a few minutes to allow the spices to warm up and coat the onion.
Add the squash, give it all a final mix and then add the stock and coconut milk.
Leave the squash to soften for 20-30 minutes before blending. Check the seasoning and keep it warm until you’re ready to serve.
Take your spices, adding or removing any that you deem fit and add them to a dry frying pan with the pumpkin seeds.