Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

For my birthday I received the Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals book. It is unlikely that I will ever actually do one of the complete meals, but there are plenty of great recipes to try. One of the first ones that stood out to me was the Cauliflower macaroni. It looked tasty and had very cheap ingredients. Considering it was part of a 30minute meal I’d say it takes about 25minutes to prepare and cook, with plenty of time for some chatting (or desert making) in the process. It tasted great, and I’d say its  good way to hide vegetables. Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese!? The crunchy was my favourite and you could do it with or without the bacon. The original recipe had pancetta instead of the bacon, I didn’t have any and I have a freezer full of bacon which worked great instead. Also, I swapped creme fraiche for sour cream, which is pretty similar. It is so easy to buy sour cream here, and not so easy or cheap to buy creme fraiche.

I hope you try this one. Its super easy, delicious, and cheap. Oh and it makes enough to feed about 5,000 people (…8)

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

(time: 25mins, feeds: 8)

Ingredients

6 rashers of bacon

1 large head of cauliflower

500g dried macaroni

250g cheddar cheese grated

4 thick slices of old bread

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 cloves of garlic crushed

250g sour cream

Salt and Pepper and olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 220c

Place a large pot of salted water onto the stove and bring to the boil.

Place the rashers of bacon in a large baking dish (big enough for the finished mac and cheese) and place in the hot oven. Allow to crisp up.

While the bacon is cooking, trim the cauliflower of the leaves and stalk and roughly chop into medium sized florets. Add the pasta and cauliflower to the pot of boiling water. Return to the boil and cook until the pasta is cooked but  still a  little on the firm side. Drain the pasta and cauliflower and keep a few cups of the pasta water for later.

By this stage the bacon should be done. Remove the bacon from the oven and then the baking dish and set aside. Keep the oven on. Put the cauliflower and macaroni into the baking dish.

In a food processor combine the bread, rosemary, garlic, cooked bacon and a little olive oil. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and the sour cream to the pasta with about a cup of the pasta water and mix through with some salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more pasta water if you think you need to cook your pasta a little more, or add less water if you pasta is fully cooked. Once combined, pour the breadcrumbs over the top and spread evenly.

Put the cauliflower mac and cheese in the oven and bake for 8-10minutes or until the breadcrumbs on top are nicley browned and crispy and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling.

Serve while still hot!

Sweet Potato and Haloumi Quiche

The name of this recipe is a sweet potato and haloumi quiche, but really its a sweet potato, spinach, red onion, mustard, ham and haloumi quiche, but that was just too long! When Craig and I were dating he made a quiche similar to this one and I was so impressed I married him! Since that time this quiche has evolved by incorporating lots of ideas mostly found in various Donna Hay magazines. However Craig can still claim the sauteed onion and seeded mustard base, and that is one of my favourite parts!

Sweet Potato and Haloumi Quiche

(preparation time 20min, cooking time 50minutes, serves 6)

Ingredients

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry (thawed)

1 tbs olive oil

2 tsp seeded mustard

½ medium red onion thinly sliced

70g baby spinach stems removed

200g sweet potato thinly sliced

50g shaved ham

4 eggs

1 ½ cup milk

2 tbs melted butter

1 cup grated cheese

½ cup self raising flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a 24cm quiche dish with cooking spray. Place puff pastry sheet on dish and press to shape into the dish. Poke holes with a fork into the pastry case to prevent the case form puffing up too much when you dry bake it. Place the pastry case into the oven and dry bake in the oven for 10minutes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add onion and seeded mustard, stir fry until the onion is soft. Add the onion and mustard mixture to the base of the puff pastry case once dry baked.

3. meanwhile, place the sliced sweet potato in a microwaveable bowl with a few tablespoons of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for a couple of minutes on high to soften the sweet potato.

4. Place a thin layer of ham on top of the onion and mustard mix followed by the spinach and then sweet potato. repeat this one more tiome so you have two layers of each (except the onion). Place the sliced haloumi on top of the last layer of sweet potato.

5. Whisk together the egg, milk, butter, flour and a little salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Fold in the cheese and slowly pour the mixture over the layered spinach, sweet potato and haloumi. You will find that the cheese tends to stay on top but this means that a nice cheesy crust forms.

6. Bake the quiche in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow it to cool a little before cutting into it. You can eat it hot or cold, both are great! Serve with a salad or some steamed vegetables.