tasty thursday #4: festive mac &cheese

Today the weather was nasty; chilly, damp and grey.  To cheer myself up, and because this might be the last meal I cook in the caravan, I decided to have some fun with an old favourite.

sprout.jpgThe British are famous for being a bit strange about food. Except for my family, the British universally loathe Brussels sprouts. And yet they are a traditional part of every Christmas dinner up and down the land.  They are overcooked to an offensive grey mush and weeping children are forced to try them.  No wonder we grow up to hate them. Yet cooked lightly they are vibrant green, sweet and wonderful with butter and lots of pepper.

Brussels sprouts grow really well in cool temperate climates but they taste much better after a frost or two as it makes them sweeter.

Another traditional part of the British Christmas feast is Blue Stilton cheese. It is creamy with a strong taste and smell and can only be called Stilton if it comes from a certain part of England.

So here’s what I did.  I trimmed about 300g of sprouts of their outer leaves and stems then I cut them into quarters and steamed them until only just cooked.  I cooked 4 handfuls of macaroni until al dente and fried 3 rashers of smoked bacon and chopped it finely. I crumbled 150g of blue Stilton.  I mixed together everything except the Stilton and seasoned it then I mixed through a big dollop of reduced fat crème fraiche and 2/3 of the Stilton.  I put the mixture into a greased dish and sprinkled the rest of the Stilton on top then put the dish into a hot oven for about 20-25 minutes until it was browned and bubbling.

I served it with a tomato and red onion salad  and it tasted great!

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