Posts Tagged ‘milk’

Crema Catalana

This was dessert at the Catalan feast… Very similar to Creme Brulee, it contains all the usual goodness of a dessert. Eggs, milk and a load of sugar. The use of a kind of branding iron to encrust the sugar is traditional but new to me. It’s as common place in a Catalan kitchen as having an electric kettle in England or a refrigerator specifically used for Mountain Dew in the United States, sorry. Again, thanks to Sergio for all of the effort and showing me how to caramelise the sugar Catalan style.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick – optional
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch


Bring the milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon to the boil over low heat. Next, take the mixture off the heat and let it cool down, then strain the milk and cream mixture to get rid of any lumps (removing the cinnamon stick in the process.)Mix the egg yolks and ½ cup of the sugar until you start to get  thick creamy texture. Now it’s time to dissolve the cornstarch in 4 tbsp of the warm milk mixture that you just made,  stir it back into the remaining mixture, this will thicken it even further and act as a stabiliser. Mix the milk in with the eggs and sugar and put it all in a pyrex bowl (or similar)  over a pan of simmering water. Stir continuously until the cream thickens even further, making sure that it doesn’t boil. When this has thickened up nice, let the cream cool  for a minute and and pour it into the bowls or ramekins. Put these in the fridge until they’re cold, or for as long as you want, (even overnight) when you are ready to serve, sprinkle a generous amount of the remaining sugar over each bowl or ramekin.

Heat the iron over the stove, and press it against the sugar until it is starts to burn and caramelise. It’ll form a lovely crust. Careful not to leave it on the sugar for too long otherwise it’ll go black (another way is to use a blow torch.) Serve immediately and enjoy.


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Macaroni Cheese

An old favourite and another taste of childhood. Sometimes I think that we get caught up trying to aspire to some sort of fine dining experience nightly, however, I think my favourite food is always peasant fodder. I mean, Spanish cuisine is all about simplicity, cheap, good ingredients cooked simply and well, from Fabada in the north, to Migas in the south west and Paella in the east. Anyway, I digress, but will definitely return to this topic. So anyway, mac and cheese… this is our take, and a classic version at that.


  • 3.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 250 grams elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs


This recipe turned out fairly dry and if I did it again I would use less breadcrumbs and add more sauce and cheddar cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta in boiling water for roughly 7 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile, make a roux by heat butter in a large saucepan until melted and slowly add the flour, stirring the whole time, until it begins to thicken. Add the milk in a slow stream, still stirring, until all liquid is incorprated. Continue stirring over heat for about 1 or 2 minutes. until sauce is thick.

Drain pasta and combine in a bowl with cheddar cheese and sauce. Stir together and pour into shallow baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top of the macaroni. Finally, cut 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter them on top of the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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I adapted this recipe from a Marcus Wareing recipe. I love his book, I genuinely want to cook everything in it… Anyway, he uses cod and I used halibut… He uses a lot of blue cheese, but I wanted to retain the flavour of the beautiful milky fish sauce, so I added small chunks of Roquefort cheese so when you ate it, you got the occasional hit, rather than a dominating flavour. The ramekins that we bought for the chocolate mousses we made a while back were the perfect size, which was nice.


  • 400 ml of semi skimmed milk
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 1/4 bunch of thyme
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 450g cod or halibut
  • 1 leeks chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 50g of blue roquefort cheese
  • handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg yolk, from a free range egg
  • puff pastry


In a deep saucepan, add the , milk, 100ml of the stock, thyme and garlic and warm through on a low heat, do not boil.

Season the white fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add this to the sauce, and poach for about 7 or 8 minutes.

You’ll see it turning from translucent to white. Remove the fish and put to one side. Then put the sauce in a jug and put to one side as well.

Melt half  the butter in a frying and cook the chopped leeks for 5 mins, then add the other half of chicken stock to the leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes and then set aside.

Now in a another (or the same frying pan if it’s been washed) melt the other half of the butter over a medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Now get your jug of white sauce (garlic and bay leaves removed) and add a dash of the liquid to the flour and butter, whisk vigorously, then, when that has blended in, add the rest of the liquid slowly to create a nice creamy texture. Check the sauce for seasoning.

Take your ramekin and evenly disperse the white fish, the leeks and the crumbled Roquefort.

Place a disc of fresh puff pastry over the ramekin, brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven at 180C for 20- 25 minutes. I think this would go well with steamed broccoli and buttery new potatoes.

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