Saturday, September 28, 2013

Macaroni and cheese

I find the traditional macaroni & cheese, which is made with a cheese sauce, too rich. This version is made with an egg and milk custard which is lighter. It's delicious hot or cold. 

250g macaroni noodles
2 - 3 cups of milk
3 eggs
2 cups grated Edam cheese

Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling water (add a teaspoon of salt when the water start to boil - and yes, pasta needs to be cooked with salt!).
Beat the eggs and milk with seasoning - a good pinch of salt and lots of pepper. Dried herbs also add further flavour. 
In a greased dish, add half of the macaroni, sprinkle half the cheese over. Repeat with the rest. Pour the egg mixture over. It must cover the pasta. You could top it up with milk if necessary.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius - fan bake - for 45 minutes. 

Add a cup of chopped ham or leftover meat. 
Chopped celery or mushrooms also works well.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hearty soup

The ultimate in nourishing comfort food, this is the basic recipe for the soup we have from autumn through to spring. It is a meal in one bowl and freeze well. I always make a big pot, keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest.

Cooking and preparation time: 1.5 - 2 hours.

2 onions or leeks
1 kg lean mince meat or chicken breasts/thighs
250g - 500g red split lentils (more lentils makes a thicker soup)
3 large carrots, grated
A wedge of cabbage, finely chopped
Half a head of broccoli, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, peeled and chopped in small cubes ( include the leaves)
1 tin of tomatoes, any flavour
1 tin of tomato purée 
Seasoning and your favourite combination of spices and herbs

Fry the onions in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot, over a slow heat until softened. Add spices and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the meat and break up the mince as it fries. Keep the chicken pieces whole and cut them up finely at the end of the cooking.

Add the lentils and enough boiled water to cover to the halfway mark. Add salt and pepper. Boil for 20 minutes. (Chop up the veggies in the mean time. You can use any vegetables in season. I also like to use mushrooms.)
You can see how much vegetables are added to the soup - makes it healthy and tasty!

Add all the chopped vegetables and skim off the foam as it forms. Boil for about 10 -15 minutes.
Here you can see the foam that forms when adding the vegetables.

If you have used chicken, chop it in small pieces. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato purée. Check your seasoning. Chopped fresh parsley is another good addition at this stage.