Guest Blog: We need to talk about the Cheese (Sauce)! – by John Kane

I’d like to introduce my first guest blogger, John Kane, aka my little brother! 

John is currently residing in Perth, Western Australia, but is moving back to the UK later on this year. Like myself, and our other siblings, John loves his food and certainly knows his way around a kitchen. I particularly enjoy his speciality slow cooked, pulled pork burrito!  

I’m looking forward to him coming back home in September and sampling some of his fine cooking once more! 

Me and John

We Need to Talk about The Cheese (Sauce)! 

I’m a grown up, and I’ve been cooking for myself for the better part of a decade. There I said it, it’s perhaps not the most sweeping statement ever uttered but there it is. Occasionally I’ll cook for others (usually in the guise of my three fortunate housemates), and on rare occasions for a larger number.

It’s only recently that I’ve truly started to appreciate the volume of cooking my mother did for me and my sisters when we were young. After teaching thirty or so children all day, she’d come home and feed seven humans every single night. SEVEN! I probably wrack up that number every month or so, by hosting a dinner party, or cooking a Sunday roast, but to do it day in, day out, is just staggering!

So how did she do it? And more over, do so without resorting to microwave meals and takeaways? Well my understanding, by the way of a child’s grainy hindsight, is that she stuck to a cycle of tasty, cheap and easy to prepare meals, that could fully sustain the animals of the Kane household! 

My Cheese Sauce Recipe: 

While I have maintained many of mum’s culinary tips, the one which has stuck, is her Cheese Sauce.

Now hear me out. In mum’s iteration it could make the basis of a pasta bake in 20 minutes, forms the basis of a delicious Fish Pie, or quickly top off a tasty lasagne. Therefore, it is in its variety that Cheese Sauce excels. 

The recipe that I’ve fine-tuned over the years, can make the basis of any number of meals and sides, takes 10 minutes to make, and costs around £6 (depending on your level of cheese snobbery!) 

Below is my Cheese Sauce recipe, along with a number of dishes that can be made from the recipe. While the cheese used can be changed, depending on taste, and the dish itself (I love a sprinkle of Boursin on top of my Lasagne), I would advise that any dish using the sauce will benefit from being finished off under the grill, as it’ll likely be at it’s best once beautifully browned. 

Ingredients:


-250g Mature Cheddar, grated

-50g Butter

-500ml Full Fat Milk

-150g Self-Raising Flour

-1/2 tsp Hot English Mustard

-2 tsp Garlic Granules 

-Salt/Pepper

Method:

1. Using a 1000ml microwaveable jug, melt the butter for 30 seconds in the microwave on full heat.

2. Add the milk and half the flour mixing together as the flour is added. Microwave for a further 2 minutes.

3. You may notice little change to the liquid, but the flour will have started to congeal on the bottom. Dig the flour up and mix well, it’s likely some of the flour will remain on the surface but this is normal. 

4. Add the remaining flour, stir it in, then add the cheese. This can be mixed in a little but will melt after you’ve put the contents in the microwave for a further two minutes next. 

5. At this point the flour will have slightly risen the mixture but give it a good stir, again digging any excess flour from the bottom and it’ll quickly thicken into the sauce.

6. Add the mustard, garlic granules, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix into the sauce before one final minute in the microwave.

Cheese Sauce Recipes:

Tuna Pasta Bake – Add the cheese sauce to a cooked pasta of your choice. To the pasta add 2 tins of tuna (always with sunflower oil for me), a good cup size of sweet corn, and cooked broccoli for a quick gooey bake. Don’t forget to brown the top! 

Fish Pie – Mix the cheese sauce in with the cooked seafood (mussels, squid, salmon & cod works a treat). Place the mixture into an ovenproof dish before topping with mash for a hearty meal.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese – Fry up some chopped smoked bacon and mushrooms, cook up some macaroni and mix all together. Place in a baking tin and dot with feta for extra salty goodness. 

Cauliflower Cheese – Pretty self-explanatory but essential with a roast dinner!

Savoury Pancake – Place some cooked leg of ham in a pancake, and drizzle with the sauce for obscene results. 

Did I mention Lasagne?!

John Kane (June 2016)

Do you have any tasty recipes? Would you like to be my next guest blogger? If so, contact me here via my blog page. 

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