Spiced macaroni cheese is the best macaroni cheese!

Macaroni cheese is wonderful. It’s just the best comfort food in the world. My mum used to make it for me a lot when I was younger, always eaten with a “splade” which since getting married I’ve discovered is not commonly found in kitchens outside of my family 🙂

As it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, we’re having a Thanksgiving type meal this evening. We’re not American but we have some American friends so figured why not?

I was commissioned to make two large dishes of macaroni cheese (or mac and cheese to quote to Americans). I thought why not make one dish normal and one spiced. In my opinion, once you’ve gone spiced, you’ll never go back!

It’s pretty easy to make, especially if you’re already au fait with the regular macaroni cheese recipe.

Make it, eat it, love it!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

225g pasta (I use the shell type, the sauce sits nicely inside!)

Chunk of butter (A good tablespoon)

Heaped tablespoon of plain flour

500ml milk (full fat or semi skimmed)

150g extra strong mature cheddar, grated

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne chili pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

 

First, put the pasta on to boil in a large saucepan. Add the butter to the pan and melt it over a medium heat. Add the tablespoon of flour and stir. There shouldn’t be any melted butter visible, if there is, sprinkle a little more flour in and stir until its mixed well.

Add the milk a little at a time (admittedly, I tend to slosh it in haphazardly and hope for the best but adding it slowly is probably much more sensible). The sauce should start to thicken. When it is a good thick consistency, stir in the grated cheese. Depending on how strong you like the sauce, taste it at this point and add more cheese if you fancy.

Once the cheese has melted in, add the paprika and Cayenne chili pepper to the sauce and stir in thoroughly. It will turn the sauce ever so slightly red. At this point if you want to taste it again, go ahead! Add more spices if you want to.

Drain the pasta and put in back into the pan. Add the sauce on top of the pasta and stir through.

At this point, many people put it into an oven proof dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake but I don’t bother. Go ahead if you’re into that though, don’t let me stop you!

I pour mine into pasta dishes, dust a little paprika over the top and serve straight away (with a splade, obvs*).

All that’s left to do is enjoy the amazing dish you just made! Make it, eat it, love it!

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#yum!

*For those of you that are intrigued by splades, you can find them here. (apparently they’re splayds, not splades. Who knew?)

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The Big Knit

Innocent have teamed up with Age UK to bring us The Big Knit!

Innocent smoothies don little woollen hats over the winter months and 25p from every sale goes to Age UK to help keep older people warm over the winter.

I thought I would knit an Innocent hat and show you guys how easy it is to get involved!

First off you will need;

A small amount of DK wool

A pair of 4mm knitting needles

A tapestry needle

A pom-pom maker or cardboard circles

Start by casting on 28 stitches onto your needle. Knit the first two rows and then start stocking stitch with a knit row.

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Continue with stocking stitch for 12 rows which will end after a purl row. The start decreasing. Do one row of knit two together (K2tog)

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You will be left with 14 stitches on your needle. The next row, purl two together (P2tog)

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Once you have finished, break off the yarn leaving a tail about 25cm long. Thread the yarn onto your tapestry needle and push it through the loops on the knitting needle.

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Once you have the yarn threaded through, slip the knitting needle out of the stitches and pull the yarn tight.

You then need to sew up the hat along the edge. Make sure the bumpy purl stitches are facing you when you sew it up so that when you turn it the right way round, the seam will be on the inside of the hat. Use the same yarn that you used to pull the stitches tight and catch the stitches together along the edge of the hat.

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Turn the hat the right way round and start making your pom-pom. I have a pom pom maker but you can use two round circles of card with holes cut out of the middles (link here)

Once you have your pom-pom, sew it to the top of the hat securely and tie the ends. Voila, you’re done!

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Now all that’s left to do is send your finished hat(s) to Innocent at

The Big Knit 2017, Innocent Drinks, 342 Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5BU

before 31st January 2017, being sure to write a note stating; how many you have knitted, the date and your name and address. Before long someone will be buying a smoothie with your little hat on top!

This is a basic hat pattern, more patterns can be found on The Big Knit website.

Happy mini hat making!