In his recipe for greens mac n cheese, Jamie Oliver uses leek, broccoli and spinach as well as toasted almonds for a topping. He also suggests swapping out the spinach for any other exciting greens and he sometimes adds breadcrumbs to the top for a bonus crunch. Jamie says this recipe is tasty! And it really is.
Out of choice, I am a last minute packer. I really prefer to pack our suitcases the day before we travel. But this last trip I started getting ready 2 weeks beforehand. The first thing I did was package up Mark’s motorcycle jacket. He has bought himself a scooter and wanted his jacket. My first attempt resulted in the package being far too large for my suitcase. Once I had it down to size I made a bubble wrap bag for Hannah’s baby chair. I decided that I would pack in our spare room and so started laying everything out on the bed. It certainly looks like a lot when you do it that way, rather than pack straight into the case. I continued doing bits and pieces and added to the pile as I went along.
Carli brought over a few things for me to take, such as food and wet wipes for Hannah. And Jonathan asked me to bring some wine. I had also amassed gifts galore, and most of the case was taken up with things other than clothes. The piles and piles of things eventually had to be put into the case, and as I was doing this days before we travelled there were ‘missing’ items. Dave’s swimming costume had to dry, some things we were still using, and other things needed to be sorted out. And with so many things lying all over the place I realized I much prefer to get it all done at once, in one afternoon. The same with my cooking. I made the greens mac n cheese on the Sunday before we went away. It made enough for 3 meals for us which was perfect.
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Greens Mac 'N' Cheese
- 1 large leek
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 400 g purple sprouting or tenderstem broccoli
- 40 g unsalted butter
- 15 g fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 litre semi-skimmed milk
- 450 g dried macaroni
- 30 g Parmesan cheese
- 150 g mature Cheddar cheese
- 100 g baby spinach
- 50 g flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
- Trim, halve and wash the leek and peel the garlic, then finely slice with the broccoli stalks, reserving the florets for later
- Place the sliced veg in a large casserole pan over a medium heat with the butter, then strip in the thyme leaves and cook for 15 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly
- Stir in the flour, followed slowly by the milk, then summer for 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain
- Grate the Parmesan and most of the Cheddar into the sauce, and mix well
- Tip into a blender, add the spinach and whiz until smooth - you may need to work in batches
- Season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper, then stir through the pasta and broccoli florets, loosening with a splash of milk, if needed
- Transfer to a 25cm x 35cm baking dish, grate over the remaining Cheddar and scatter over the almonds
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until beautifully golden and bubbling
Disclosure: This recipe has been published with permission and forms part of my review. I simmered the sauce on a very low temperature so it took me an hour to get it thick. This post is in line with my blogging policy.