On the menu: macaroni cheese with a hashtag, a Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree and preparing for Christmas


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I love macaroni cheese, so much so that a cookbook solely devoted to the subject is a very good idea, the book in mention is Anna Mae’s Mac N Cheese, she has a ‘legendary London street food truck’ apparently. Anyway, the recipes in the book look droolsome, so I’ve decided to work my way through them, work my way through them slowly, otherwise I’d have a coronary. The first recipe in the book is the one that apparently started everything off, the original Anna Mae Mac N Cheese, called #Cheesuslovesyou, yep. Anyway, it has a heck of a lot of cheese in, four different types, it’s meant to be cheddar, Monterey Jack, parmesan and mozzarella but I couldn’t find any Monterey Jack and a quick google in the supermarket suggested gouda would be a good substitute, so gouda it was.

Normally when I make macaroni cheese, it’s one or two cheeses max and a lot lot less of the stuff but Boy Lacer has been refusing to eat my macaroni cheese, which is a bit infuriating as he’ll eat it at school, in fact he eats quite a lot of things that he refuses to eat at home, at school. I think this has a lot to do with because he know’s he hasn’t got any other choice at school and also because the school’s chef is very, very good (Italian heritage, so he should know how to make good pasta!) and they have a ‘maitre d” (one of the school’s secretaries), who watches over the kids at lunch and has a very firm but fair grandmotherly attitude, I, on the other hand, am a bit of a walk over. Anyway, I’m always quizzing Boy Lacer about why the school’s x, y, z in better than my x, y, z and he said the school’s macaroni cheese was cheesier and more crispy on top. So, Anna Mae’s recipe definitely had the cheese and also, interestingly, instead of baking it in the oven, like I normally do, it was finished off under the grill, which definitely gives more crispy bits.

The result was a nice, but slightly anxious making experience, that’s the problem when you’re the cook, if you know exactly how much of something ‘bad’ has gone into something and then you eat it afterwards. I have been fairly good at eating healthily recently (well, a bit good). I personally couldn’t see that much difference, pleasure wise, between one of my reduced cheese macaronis and this recipe but Mr. Lacer and Girl Lacer really loved it and Boy Lacer ate half of it, which is half more home cooked macaroni cheese than he’d normally eat. His verdict was actually that it was a bit too cheesy and that the school used ‘different cheese’. I would love to have a chat with that chef.

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Also made on Sunday was a smaller version of Paul Hollywood’s Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree (the recipe was in this year’s Great British Bake Off Christmas special). I did make the full amount but I’ve frozen half, unbaked, as there’s no way we could eat that many Chelsea Buns in one go. I’m not sure I could have fitted the full size thing in my oven anyway.

The dough is an enriched dough and was a pleasure to make. I normally make my own mincemeat (Nigella’s cranberry mincemeat is king) but I haven’t got round to it yet, so I used a jar of Marks and Spencer standard mincemeat (I’m not being that posh, I just forgot to get some on the supermarket). I wasn’t that impressed with the mincemeat actually, I don’t think I’ve bought mincemeat before (I am a very late convert to mincemeat, I used to not be able to stand it, I still won’t eat mince pies unless they’re Nigella cranberry ones), so I don’t know what jarred mincemeat is normally like but I don’t think this one has much flavour and it was a bit watery when cooked with. Luckily the recipe did say to pimp it up with some apple, pear, orange zest and cinnamon (it says pistachios too, but I don’t like them). So, with the resulting buns, you can taste the additions far, far more than the actual mincemeat. As for the dough, yum, lovely, so soft!

I haven’t decorated my tree as much as the recipe suggests, my cooking mojo was evaporating by the time I got to that bit and as always, I do think icing tends to be just extra, unnecessary calories. But everyone was impressed with it as is.



I’ve blogged about Nigella’s Cranberry Mincemeat before but I thought I’d mention them again (in part because I was moaning in my Sunday entry that I hadn’t made any Nigella cranberry mincemeat yet) and also because this year, instead of making small mince pies, I used her mince pie recipe (both from her Christmas book) and made some bigger mince pies instead.  The amount of pastry does not make many big mince pies (although that could well be due to me not rolling out my pastry thin enough) but as the only person in the house who likes mince pies, just six is more than enough. And anyway, I like my pastry thick and chunky looking, if I wanted a neat mince pie I’d buy a box from the supermarket (and I wouldn’t because I think those look unappetising).


Not pictured but I made Nigella’s Sweet and Sour Slaw from her latest book (you can also find the recipe here) for Christmas lunch tomorrow. I of course had to try some, it was okay, a little bland to be honest but my taste buds may be dulled by all this Christmas food. It is however considerably healthier than slaw I made the other day, so it could still end up making it’s way into my reportoire.




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