Apologies for the disruption in our scheduling here over the last two weeks but life life did its best to get in the way of blogging however finally we are moved! The moving is done, the boxing and sorting through things, mercilessly throwing out everything if you are me or hoarding old birthday cards and kids drawings if you are Dave. It was a uncomfortable experience for me because I cannot relax in an untidy house and every evening spent looking at towers of boxes and bags over flowing with books was an evening that worked on frazzling my last nerve.
We accidently / luckily packed all the cd’s except the Best of Queen, never a bad thing but I had Flash on repeat so many times, reliving the amazingness that is the final skate from Blades of Glory that Dave would have been justified in throwing many newspaper wrapped items at my head.
We trundled along getting things done and then on Friday night, our last night in the old house, while I was standing in the queue in Centra clutching the bottle of wine that was going to get me through the evening Dave pointed at the silent TV where news of Leonard Nimoy’s death was scrolling across the screen. I was gutted, I love sci- fi and that love began with the original series of Star Trek and that love began with Spock. Leonard Nimoy always seemed like a genuinely good guy, a writer, actor, director and photographer and I am sad that he is gone, he was a great example of how to live well in this world.
We spent our last night on our old couch watching Star Trek IV, The Undiscovered Country, I couldn’t have coped with Wrath of Kahn, while I sobbed in to my rice noodles and much needed glass of wine.
The night before I had made my second comforting dish as recommended by the internet, Mac and Cheese but I don’t think even this dish, deeply comforting though it is would have made me feel any better on Friday evening. This recipe, adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe, adapted in turn from an Ina Garten recipe was really good, dangerously good, I had to move the dish that held enough pasta for 4 – 6 people off the table so that the two of us wouldn’t finish the whole thing.
Much like the frightening amount of sugar in the brownies this dish calls for an unnerving quantity of cheese. Be brave, try not to think of your arteries and remember rather than serving this on its own you could serve it in small portions as a side or with a big healthy green salad.
Serves 6 (or two very stressed people dinner and lunch)
3 ounces unsalted butter
3 cups of milk
1/4 cup Doves Farm plain Gluten Free flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( add ¼ tsp if you like cayenne, I did)
9 ounces grated mature / strong white cheddar cheese
2 ounces of grated Gruyère
2 ounces of grated parmesan
8 to 9 ounces of Gluten Free macaroni ( half a one pound bag) I used the Heinz GF Macaroni I found in Tesco and it worked really well.
3 – 4 slices of Gluten Free white bread, crumbed.
Salt to taste and for the pasta water.
• Preheat your oven to Gas 5 / 190/375 f
• Butter a casserole or other oven proof dish, I used a 9” x 9” square dish.
• Heat the milk in a sauce pan over a low heat.
• Melt the butter in a high sided pan or sauce pan and when it starts to bubble add the ¼ cup of flour.
• Mix the flour and butter together and cook for one minute over a medium heat.
• Get a whisk and start ladling the hot milk in to the flour mix, whisking continuously.
• Add the milk a ladle at a time and keep whisking, be patient with this, it can sometimes be difficult to get a truly smooth GF béchamel sauce.
• When all the milk is added continue to cook, still whisking until the mix thickens.
• Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and 2 thirds of the grated cheese. I stirred my cheeses together in a bowl so they would be nicely mixed. Keep the remaining cheese for the crumb topping.
• Stir the sauce until everything is nicely combined and then add salt to taste. Set the sauce aside.
• Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and add your macaroni. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until al dente, the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water.
• Stir the pasta in to the sauce and pour in to the casserole dish.
• Combine the GF breadcrumbs with the remaining cheese and layer this thickly over the pasta.
• Put the dish in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
Allow the mac and cheese to sit for a minute before serving but enjoy it while it is still meltingly, cheesy and delicious.
This is food that makes your soul and your stomach feel better and is as the internet advised, very comforting!