Chilli Mac & Cheese

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Happy Monday (and Happy 1st of July!)!  Here’s a recipe to bookmark for later, because – well – firstly, Mac & Cheese isn’t exactly the kind of thing to be scoffing in the middle of summer, is it?  It definitely falls under the category of cold weather comfort food; it’s perfect for gloomy, November night’s in rather than a sticky, July suppers scoffed alfresco – right?  (Although, honestly my appetite knows no season, and – besides – you never know when the Welsh Weather’s going to trip you up…) And secondly, it’s two recipes in one!  Definitely one to keep up your sleeve. 😉

Chilli is one of my absolute favourite meals to make because it’s a one pot wonder that’s easy to whip up mid week when I’m feeling too tired to cook and tempted to reach for that takeaway menu.  It’s also perfect for batch cooking; the recipe makes more than enough to sort both one dinner and a couple of lunches for the week.  Make it meaty with beef mince if you like, but I actually prefer the veggie version using Quorn Mince.  I’ll usually serve it up with some rice, grated cheese and sour cream (my husband likes to add a couple of crushed nachos to his too for some extra crunch), but it’s also pretty fabulous served up on a bed of gooey, super-cheesy Mac and Cheese.

I feel like Mac and Cheese gets a bit of a bad rap from all those cardboard microwave versions (bleugh!).  I mean it only takes a little extra effort to make it yourself, and it tastes so much better!  Especially if you use the right kind of cheese.  Lucky for me, the guys from Dragon Wales (who make my favourite vintage cheddar – my fridge is always stocked with a block!) sent me a lovely little hamper full of their brand new range of cheeses, including a Maple Smoked Cheddar that was born to make the smokiest, creamiest cheese sauce for Mac and Cheese. 👌

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Chilli Mac & Cheese (serves 2 – with plenty for leftovers!)

Ingredients

For the Chilli:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 350g mince (sure, beef’s traditional, but I personally love Quorn mince)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 225g black beans
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ancho chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper to season

For the Mac & Cheese:

  • 100g macaroni
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated (I really like Dragon’s new *Maple-Smoked Cheddar)
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • salt and pepper to season
  1. To make the chilli, heat up your olive oil in a deep pan – then add the diced red onions and fry on a medium heat until they’re glossy.  Add the garlic and fry for one minute.
  2. Next, add the mince and fry it for a couple of minutes until brown, then add the bell pepper and black beans.  Add the chipotle paste, honey and passata and stir until combined.  
  3. Season the chilli with the paprika, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper and chilli flakes – then turn down the heat, whack on the lid and allow the chilli to simmer for twenty five minutes.  If it’s looking a little dry, pour in a little cold water.
  4. Once it’s cooked, you can stop there, season it with salt and pepper and serve it up with some fresh coriander, rice and sour cream… or you can keep the lid on and whip up some Mac and Cheese to scoff it with! 😉
  5. To make the Mac and Cheese, first get your macaroni boiling with some salt.  While it’s cooking, grab a fresh saucepan and gently heat the butter until it’s melted.  Next, add the flour and whisk to make a roux (fancy-pants term which basically means a sauce base). 
  6. Keeping the heat down low, slowly pour in the milk and whisk until everything’s combined.  Add the grated cheddar, season and stir to make a lovely, thick and cheesy sauce. 😉
  7. Stir in the cooked (and drained!) macaroni, then serve up with the chilli and fresh coriander.  Yum!

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Have a great week everyone!  And thanks to Dragon Wales for the lovely cheese!  💛💛💛

*This post isn’t sponsored, but contains gifted items.  To find out more about what this means and to read my disclaimer, click here.

Glamorgan Sausage Rolls

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Happy Friday everyone!  This time next week it’ll be March, isn’t that crazy?  And with that in mind – seeing as next Thursday is St David’s Day – here’s a little Welsh recipe with a twist that you might have seen in this month’s Co-op Food Magazine.

Co-op got in contact with me before Christmas and asked me what I’d be cooking this St David’s Day and I came up with a recipe for Glamorgan Sausage Rolls.  Glamorgan Sausages are legendary here in Wales, but if you’ve never heard of them before they’re basically veggie sausages made from leeks, cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs and were very popular during the war when meat was hard to come by.  Now, I’m not normally one for veggie sausages, but these – if I do say so myself – are LOVELY, and would make a great snack to bring out at half time during the Six Nations.  Especially if you dunk them in either some chilli jam or onion chutney. 😉

Glamorgan Sausage Rolls (Makes 8 small sausage rolls)

Ingredients

  • 170g white breadcrumbs
  • 100g Co-op British leek, finely chopped
  • 150g Caerphilly or Welsh Cheddar, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 2 British free range eggs
  • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 375g pack ready rolled puff pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, chopped leek, cheese, paprika, thyme and mustard.
  2. Whisk the eggs with 2 tbsp of the milk (Hold back 2 tbsp of the egg/milk mix – you’re going to need that later!) and stir into the sausage mix.
  3. Now for the sticky bit!  Mould the mix into 8 equally sized sausages (you could use a bit of cling film to help you), and then dunk them one by one into egg and milk mix you held back earlier. Lightly roll each sausage in the flour and then leave them to chill in the fridge for 30 mins – over overnight if you’ve got the time to spare. 
  4. When you’re ready to cook, melt some butter in a frying pan and fry the sausages until golden, then leave them to cool.
  5. Now to get rolling!  Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick and then cut into 8 rectangles. Place each sausage in the middle of a piece of pastry, fold over, and brush with the remaining milk to seal (or use whisked egg for a richer wash).
  6. Crimp the edges with a fork and slash the top of each sausage roll with a knife. Lay on the baking tray, making sure there’s a gap between each roll. Bake for 40 mins, or until golden. Slice, serve and scoff!

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

 

Indian Potato and Cauliflower Fried Flatbreads

Other than a Chicken Jalfrezi, there are two dishes I’m likely to have a strop over if they’re not on the table when I go out for an Indian; Aloo Gobi, and Aloo Parantha.  Both potato dishes (Aloo Aloo!), Aloo Gobi is a vegetarian dish made from potato, cauliflower and Indian spices (my mother in-law makes great Aloo Gobi) and Aloo Parantha is basically a veggie flat bread stuffed with potato and fried in butter (yum).  They are my absolute faves – they’re such great comfort food, perfect for this time of year.  So why not combine the two and have the best of both worlds, eh? 😉

Aloo Gobi Parantha

Ingredients

  • 250g of Potatoes, chopped (I used one Maris Piper and one Sweet Potato)
  • 1 Echalion Shallot, finely chopped
  • 250g roughly chopped Cauliflower
  • 100g roughly chopped Green Chillis (the smaller, the spicier!)
  • 225g Atta Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 100g Melted Butter
  • 125 ml Warm Water
  • 50g roughly chopped fresh Coriander
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  1. First, make the dough: If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re good to go – pour in the water and oil first, followed by the flour and salt.  Run the “dough” program and then leave it to do the hard work! 😉
  2. Next make up the Aloo Gobi filling: boil the potatoes and cauliflower until soft, then pour out the water and mash.  Add the onion, green chillis, coriander and spices and stir together.
  3. Once the dough is ready, divide it into six equal balls.  Now the tricky bit; filling the parantha and then rolling it out without it spilling out the side, AND trying to keep it in a perfectly flat circle.  I’m RUBBISH at this part; I’m sure there’s a knack to rolling them out perfectly, but I’m still nowhere near figuring it out!  You’ve basically got to roll them out a little, plonk a spoonful of filling in the middle and then parcel it up and roll out the dough again until it’s flat and round.  Sounds easy, right?
  4. Heat up your frying pan with a little melted butter and cook the parantha on both sides, brushing with butter as you go.
  5. Serve hot with fresh yoghurt (I flavoured mine with a little turmeric) and tamarind sauce.

What’s your favourite Indian dish? 🙂