Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4

If you can make a good cheese sauce, you can make many other things – Cauliflower with Cheese and Lasagne to name just two. So getting this right is a good next step.


300g grated Cheddar Cheese (preferably mature)

50g butter

1 level teaspoon Colman’s English Mustard powder

1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour

300ml of semi skimmed milk

300g Macaroni


Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan, remove from the heat and add the mustard and the flour and whisk quickly with a whisk – preferably one with straight prongs (not a bulb shaped one), as the mix can get solidified in the middle of the bulb – when completely mixed, add the milk a little at a time and keep mixing to make a paste, then add a little more, mix again and then add a bit more until you have a thick sauce. If you add it too quickly, you will get a lumpy mess so be patient and blend it properly before you add any more milk. When all the milk is added and you have a smooth creamy sauce add the cheese.

Mix the sauce very well with Macaroni or some other tightly wound pasta that can collect the sauce sauce in its twists and turns so that you get the benefit of the flavour of the sauce in every mouthful.

If you need to resuscitate leftovers  of this the next day, add a bit of milk to it when you heat it up.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

“Hey, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh…? And a little bit o’ wine. An’ a little bit o’ sugar, and that’s my trick.”

And with those lines Peter Clemenza taught the young Michael Corleone the essential rule of Italian Cooking. Namely a tomato based sauce needs a little sugar to react with and give that intensity that brings the dish to life! Again, you shouldn’t put enough sugar inso that youcan taste it, but just enough to accentuate the tomatoes.


800g minced beef (10% fat)

2 x 400ml tins of chopped tomatoes (preferably a good Italian brand – don’t skimp on cheap own label brands – you will notice the difference!)

1/2 a tube tomato puree

1 large or two medium white onions chopped or diced

4 garlic cloves crushed (or 2 teaspoons of garlic puree

1 beef stock cube or little flavour pot.

2 bay leaves

1 bouquet garni

2 anchovies

salt & pepper

about 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon of sugar!


Hint: Get all the ingredients ready to go in the pot before you start.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and when hot add the onions. Fry until soft and translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon to making sure that the onions don’t go brown or stick. Then add the garlic and fry up for another minute. Then add the tomato puree. stir until all ingredients are fully mixed and looks uniform in colour and texture. The tomato puree will stick slightly to the pan, so you add the meat and constantly stir and break it up to get it to brown evenly in the tomato puree and onion mix. The fat in the meat will loosen the stuck bits of tomato puree so the bottom of the pan should be clean and “unstuck”. Then drain some of the fat from the pan and add the chopped tomatoes, stock cube, one extra tin of water, the bay leaves, the bouquet garni, sugar and anchovies. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer gently for 45 minutes. Cover with a cocked lid (not fully closed) so that the steam can escape, otherwise you will be clearing tomato splashes off the kitchen floor for days!

Taste and add salt and pepper as required. Remove the bay leaves and the bouquet garni. Serve with spaghetti, linguine, penne or whatever as long as it isn’t made by Buitoni!!!

Now, back to Clemenza:-

“Mikey, why don’t you tell that nice girl you love her? I love you with all-a my heart, if I don’t see-a you again soon, I’m-a gonna die.”