Sunday, 26 February 2012

Eating crow (with mac & cheese)

I love the expression "eating crow". It's so colourful that it somehow distracts me from the fact that I am unpleasantly and humiliatingly wrong about something. It makes it easier to throw myself into the whole-hearted admission of my error.

And so it is here.

There's been a series on TV recently called How To Cook Like Heston, in which Heston Blumenthal focuses on a particular ingredient, does some stuff that sounds totally counter-intuitive to it and then says it is the best ever. Like simmering potato skins in milk to make jam (see what I mean? Those words make no sense at all in that order!) or roasting chicken at 90C (194F) to make it really juicy. It's been moderately interesting, but the more elaborate dishes I am not interested in trying and the simpler ones I have been smugly satisfied would not be as good as my usual versions.

Paul, however, was interested in the macaroni cheese. It differs from my usual (excellent) mac & cheese in 2 key ways - instead of boiling the pasta in loads of water and draining it, you cook it more like rice until all the water is absorbed, and the cheese sauce is not based on a bechamel. Instead, you reduce white wine and a dark chicken stock right down, then mix in grated cheese tossed with a little cornflour.

I didn't follow the recipe as written because those cheeses are a little out of my price range at the moment. Instead, I used a combination of red Leicester and pecorino cheeses, with a dollop of Philly for extra creaminess. I did follow the method pretty closely, including the bizarre pasta-cooking method.

And now we get to the point. He's right, I am wrong. This was indeed the best mac & cheese I have ever made. Better than the whisky and smoke version, better than the garden veg version, better than any other I have made. The texture was creamier, the cheese flavour was clearer and the leftovers reheated better. It was, from all angles, a better mac & cheese. A side order of cheesy pasta certainly helps the crow go down.

P.S Since blogger has moved to those wretched, illegible captcha words I've taken the word recognition off the site, so I just have moderation on now. If anyone has a better solution, I would welcome it because a lot of spam is getting to the moderation phase now!

13 comments:

Rachel said...

Just found out about this Blumenthal guy while researching the Internet for ways to make lickable wallpaper for our Cook the Books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory round. He definitely seems an inconoclast in the kitchen, but if your experiment with the mac and cheese is any indication, a very smart iconoclast. Looks terribly tasty.

C said...

I haven't seen any of the series, and it certainly sounds interesting. Great looking mac and cheese, one of my favourite, not eaten often enough meals!

Can't help with the captcha - I hate it too, and have removed it, but like you, this doesn't feel like a very satisfactory solution. Plus I can't access my blog during the day to approve comments, so they'll have to wait!

Foodycat said...

Rachel - he definitely has a different approach! But following some of his guidance for CTB is brilliant!

C - a couple of episodes are still on 4oD if you are interested. It really wasn't "must see".

Simona said...

Very nice post, Alicia, and very useful information. I have seen that method of cooking pasta in a couple of recipes that are in my to-do list. The pasta in these rind certainly looks impressive, but I refuse to find out how much the dish would cost if made with the ingredients he lists. I will certainly try this wine and stock- based sauce. In terms of language, I guess "eating crow" is like "eating humble pie," right?

Kavey said...

Aah, how interesting, great post! With such a reco, will have to give this a go...

BTW understand about captcha and approving comments, the eternal dilemma.

Btw unfortunately, I can't read your comments as they are black text over the red chillis, unless I click and drag to select the text and reverse the colours...?

Gourmet Chick said...

Ooh now I am desperate to try this MAc n Cheese. Incidentally with Blogger I don't use Captcha or any moderation I just keep an eye out and delete any spam - I don't get that much I have to say.

Sunshine said...

Love mac n cheese!

www.cancerinthecity.com

wildtomato said...

That is an interesting take on mac 'n cheese. I love the idea of serving it in a hollowed out cheese wheel, but sadly, I do not eat enough cheese to buy a wheel!

I am having the same problem on my blog. People complained that they couldn't leave comments, but now I moderate comments and delete an awful lot of nasty spam. Le sigh...

Mary said...

You have really made me curious about the new method for making mac n' cheese.I have to give it a try. Thank you for turning off word verification. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

mscrankypants said...

Heston is a rampaging looniebird, but rampaging looniebirds are great for thinking differently and changing how we do things. Vive le mac cheese!

grace said...

having some delicious macaroni and cheese on hand certainly helps the crow go down more easily... :)
incidentally, i also like the phrasing 'eating humble pie'--pie is always good, right? :)

tasteofbeirut said...

I tried this method of cooking pasta a few months ago and loved it (I cooked penne); this sounds real good!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Interesting! I have not tried that way of cooking pasta and that mac-n-cheese looks amazing. ;-)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...