Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mac and Cheese Monday's

Macaroni Cheese is like your reliable best friend, always there to comfort you, cheer you up and brings a smile to your face. You can spice things up or keep it simple, hey it doesn't matter, you two, you go way back, you do what your mood takes you to do.

To me, mac and cheese takes me straight back to my childhood, it is one of those dish's that my mummy would make a lot and this her recipe (with a few additions). I love the molten cheese, the crispy cheesy pasta topping. Oh goodness it's just so good.

It all starts with a roux. A roux is the basis to a white sauce. Everyone should know how to make one. It is easy to make and once you have mastered it you are sorted for life. All it is melted butter and plain flour beaten together to form a dough like consistency.

When you have your roux, slowly add the milk and whisk until blended. It will start to thicken pretty quickly so keep stirring it to stop lumps forming. When it has thick but running consistency it's done. Boom. See it wasn't that hard. TIP: If you do get lumps forming whisk the hell out of it, that should sort it out. 

This basic sauce is the gateway to heaven. Ok well maybe not heaven but you are pretty damned close. you can add cheese to make a cheese sauce (for mac and cheese), a white sauce for a chicken and mushroom pie, creamy leeks, the options are up to you and your imagination.

To make the Blackett's version of macaroni cheese you will need:

2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
50g butter
400ml semi skimmed milk
salt/ pepper
1 tsp English Mustard
300g grated cheese
250g pasta
good handful chopped bacon (optional)
1 courgette (optional)

My mummy likes to top with tomatoes but mine called for courgette and bacon. You can add what ever you want.

First make your white sauce- as above.

Whilst your sauce is thickening, cook your pasta till just under cooked.

Fry off your bacon and roughly chop your courgette.

Once your sauce is at it's desired thickness, season and stir in two thirds of your grated cheese and mustard.

 Drain your pasta and then stir in the sauce, bacon and courgette.

Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle over the left over cheese.

Pop in a hot oven for 30 minutes and you will have a beautifully creamy, crispy, cheesy dish of happiness. ohhh yeh.

Just going to have a cheeky zooooom on that crunchy topping.

Ooofff, that really just makes my mouth melt.

Once you have finished drooling over the crispiness, break into the oooozzey cheesy pasta under neither.

This dish should feed four, but well Ted and I just couldn't resist not eating it all. It was that good. It is not the healthiest dish and I wouldn't recommend eating it every night but ya know every once in a while you deserve a little treat.

Enjoy xxx

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My Instagram Week #2

Well what a week it has been, a blur of eating out, a visit to Ikea, rugby and seeing some wonderful friends. First off I am so happy Scotland finally won a 6 Nations match. I know, I know it was only Italy BUT what an ending. Woo. I may have done a little leap of joy in the pub! What was meant to be a relatively quiet weekend turned out to be an extremely fun and spontaneous weekend of friends randomly being in London. I love that, when friends call you to say they are in town. 

Ted and I also had a very successful trip to Ikea and with my amazing *ahem* ok Ted's amazing DIY skills we have a totally transformed out bedroom, with light streaming in and no clutter. Happy Charlotte. 

Surrounding our rugby and Ikea visits, we ate some scrummy food at a local restaurant we always pass. If you are ever in the Shepherds Bush, Ravenscourt, Chiswick, Hammersmith area (ok so West) I urge you to visit The Oak W12, it is a sister to The Oak in Notting Hill and has the yummiest pizzas. 

Whilst we are talking about food, GO to Tommy's Burger Joint in Marylebone, holy mother of wow, best burger I've had in a loooong time. And all for the bargains price of £9.90 for a burger, chips and drink. BOOM. It was a good Friday. 

I have also decided I need to go to some sort of Brownie Anonymous as I just can't stop baking them. I get a craving mid week and that's it, brownies are in the oven, tempting me with their wicked ways, making me fat. Boo to the brownie. 

PrĂȘt kale crisps are officially gross (eat mine) || Love these little beauties || Venison stew with a baked potato, beyond yummy.

Officially my new favourite coffee shop || #Friday quote || Ermazing burger

I do love me a pickle I do || Sunday morning coffee happiness || Ikea DIYing

The beginnings of kale crisps || The end product (much better than Pret's) || Walnut brownies 

Yummy meat board at The Oak || #Ilovepizza || Mac and Cheese Monday

I am already excited to see what this week has laid out for me! 


Follow me on Instagram for more updates on my week: FoodbyCharlotte 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Kale Crisps

Last week, on my daily lunch time sandwich pick up in Pret, I came across Kale Crisps. In an attempt to be slightly healthy and not get the usual bag of crisps, I grabbed a bag of the kale. I know some of you reading this are probably like gross and you are right they were horrendous. WARNING- do not buy the Pret a Manger Kale Crisps, blugh.

It did however get me thinking, Kale is everywhere, it is the healthy ingredient of choice at the moment. You can't not look on Twitter or Instagram without seeing a post about the leafy green. So on the tube home from work last week, my mind went into over drive and I decided to make a batch of the healthy snack. 

Kale is super healthy, it is packed full of nutrients and FACT ALERT has 17 times more vitamin c than a carrot! No wonder everyone is banging on about it so much, it is just so damn good for you. 

It is so easy, healthy and cheap to make these crisps that I wonder why it has taken me so long to make them before. Annyyy way all you need is:

A bag of curly kale (75p in Waitrose!!!!)
4 Tsp rapeseed or olive oil
Sprinkle of Maldon salt
Chilli flakes (not essential)

Put half your chopped kale in a bowl and drizzle over 2 tsp of the oil. Using your hands, toss the leaves in the oil until well coated. 

Sprinkle with Maldon and the chilli flakes and bake in a hot over (about 180c) for 20 mins. 

Keep an eye on them, as they can crisp up when you aren't watching. You don't want burnt kale now do you. 

When they look like this take them out and leave to cool. Repeat with the other half of the bag of kale. 

Once cooled pop in a bowl and enjoy. 

These would be fab with a yummy glass of wine and shared amongst friends. Or you could like me, eat half straight away and then put the other half in a zip lock bag for work the next day. 

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. 


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

My Instagram Week #1

I have recently got in to Instagram, I know I know, I am about a year too slow but I guess there is no time like the present. Instagram is really quite addictive and I seem to be taking pictures of almost every thing I eat/ cook/ do.  SO why not show it to you guys in a little round up each week. Some things that I put on Instagram might not appear on my blog and I don't want you guys missing out, cause I am nice like that you see.

Saturday's Mango and Yogurt Breakfast || Byron Sunday Blue buster || Skinny snack from Itsu

Beginnings of a Valentine Banoffee Pie || Flowers from Ted || Sweet normal potato chips

Valentine Tomato Salad || Peanut butter toast and coffee || Sweet sweet mango

Blogging and brownie making || Sunday Roast Beef || Rhubarb and pear crumble

Boris biking on a Sunday || Balsamic chicken, homemade pesto pasta

P.s if you want to follow me on Instagram my name is : foodbycharlotte   - Hope to see you there. xx
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