Heston inspired Cauli, Mac & Cheese
I love cheese. Only on twitter earlier did I proclaim that if I could only eat 2 foods for the rest of my life it’d be cheese and bread. Recently I impressed my brother (ok I say impressed, I think he was concerned for my mental wellbeing) with my knowledge of cheese by sight. Cheese is wonderful, cheese is good, cheese is frankly heavenly. If we didn’t have cheese think of all the wonderful sweet and savoury recipes that would now be redundant. There is a reason why for Christmas we were given a Neal’s Yard Dairy hamper.
Only over the last few years have I begun to appreciate macaroni cheese. For nearly 30 years I thought macaroni cheese was like the soggy tinned stuff.Oh how wrong was I. Initially I started out making macaroni cheese using the traditional roux method, but it never seemed quite right, almost heavy & claggy. Next up I discovered the recipe in Jamie’s 30-min dinner where the traditional cheese sauce is replaced with crème fraîche along with the addition of cauliflower. This is a fabulous recipe that makes loads more than the recipe makes out, but can be a bit of faff. Then I found out how Heston Blumenthal makes it. I was converted.
At the beginning of the year Heston had a series on Channel 4 called How to Cook Like Heston. One of the episodes was about cheese. Amongst other recipes it featured fondue, cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese. His sauce uses white wine, lots of cheese and a small amount of cornflour. It makes a beautifully silky sauce and most importantly no lumps.
This recipe is an amalgamation of all the recipes various recipes I have used and how I now make it at home. Of course if you hate cauliflower just leave it out, but I like the extra flavour and texture it brings. This recipe is also great for using up the scraps of cheese in the fridge.
Cauliflower Macaroni Cheese
1/2 cauliflower, cut in to florets
150ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
80g cheese, grated (I like to use a strong cheddar like Quickes)
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
35g soft cheese (I use the one of the mini Philadelphia pots)
knob of butter
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
30g grated Parmesan
3 strips of crispy bacon, chopped
1) In a sauce pan boil the wine until it is reduce to around 2tbsp (30ml). Add the stock.
2) Boil the macaroni and cauliflower until tender. Drain.
3) In a bowl mix together the grated cheese and cornflour.
4) Take the saucepan off the heat and add the cornflour coated cheese. Stir until the cheese begins to combine.
5) Put the pan back on a low heat and keep stirring. The mixture will eventually thicken to the consistency of custard.
6) Stir in the cream cheese, butter and some black pepper, then add the cooked macaroni and cauliflower. Mix well then pour in to an oven proof dish.
7) Scatter the rosemary, Parmesan and bacon on top then heat under the grill until browned. If you’re being good eat it with salad.