It’s the DH’s birthday today and his birthday coincides with Heston Blumenthal’s show, ‘How to Cook like Heston’. No fear, there’s no dry ice used here. The man has come up with a genius new way to make white sauce – no roux, no milk even! Sometimes it’s good to let tradition go. Here’s a Heston inspired pre-birthday dinner.If you’ve ever made white sauce you know that the traditional method is to make a roux – melt butter, add flour, whisk till you have a paste then slowly add the milk and keep stirring to prevent lumps and finish off with seasoning and cheese. No matter how much you whisk, cheese sauce this way always turns out a bit floury and gloopy – it’s never shiny and smooth.
Get ready to have your mind blown because Heston’s recipe has none of these traditional methods or ingredients and is infinitely simpler and faster. I don’t have all of Heston’s ingredients but you might. In brackets I’ve added what steps I missed out without affecting the recipe. You can watch his video or follow the steps below. Cheese sauce is the very first recipe in the video or catch him on TLC at 8pm Mon-Friday.
Heston’s cheese sauce recipe
Step 1; Reduce 300mls of white wine to 30 mls (Did not have white wine, recipe still works)
Then add 300 mls of chicken stock. (I started with this step, boiling 300mls of chicken stock)
Add the rind of fresh parmesan cheese and leave it to infuse for 20 minutes (no fresh parmesan so no rind either)
Step 2: Grate 80 gms of a hard cheese like parmesan (no parmesan so used Amul’s Gouda cheese instead).
Dust the cheese liberally in cornflour.
Step 3: Take out the rind, turn down the heat. Before you add the cheese ensure that the stock is neither bubbling nor boiling. Too much heat will squeeze the fat out of the cheese and not hot enough will not melt the cheese.
Add the cheese and stir till it completely dissolves then STOP STIRRING.
Step 4: Add 1/4 cup of cream cheese to make the sauce thick and shiny (I did not have cream cheese)
That’s it! Thick cheese sauce, no milk, butter or flour.
To further boost the flavour I added cracked black pepper, 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes and 2 grated garlic pods. You can use this sauce for anything – macaroni and cheese, cauliflower cheese, chicken pie, a dip for veges, pasta or dunk your finger in it and lick it like cake batter.
Since this recipe took so little time I thought I’d try it out with some tinned processed Amul cheese. The result is that grated Amul cheese does not melt very well and the saltiness is intensely magnified. Next I tried a combination of Amul cheese and a tinned Kraft Chedder cheese. This worked better although it did have some cheesy lumps. But the saltiness was so quite a lot so do not add salt to any of the accompaniments that you’ll be smothering this sauce in.
Sauce made, I turned to the pasta. Some of you may have seen my recipe for spinach soup. The DH has been a bit perturbed that while the soup tastes incredible, we seem to be wasting a lot of spinach when the soup is strained (no matter how well it is blended.) So last week I saved all the spinach from the strainer and used it in the recipe below ( I feel like such a smarty pants!).
Spinach and minced meat with penne and cheese sauce.
Heat olive oil in a pan and add thinly sliced onions and fry till golden.
Add 2 minced or grated garlic cloves.
Add lamb/mutton mince and fry till it is cooked through. Add a small pinch of salt (the cheese sauce will be salty) and plenty of cracked black pepper.
Add 1.5 tsps of dried thyme or dried oregano or dried rosemary – whatever you can get your hands on.
Add 1/4 tsp of chilli powder.
Add the left over spinach from the strainer from the soup. Or if you didn’t make soup, chop 10 bunches of spinach leaves finely and in saucepan, steam spinach in a tablespoon of water till wilted. Put in a blender with 1/4 cup chicken stock, blend and add the blended spinach to the mince meat.
Add a few tablespoons of stock to loosen the sauce.
Pour the cheese sauce in to the spinach/mince mix. (You can use the spinach/meat mix to fill momos, samosas or ravioli too).
Boil penne pasta.
Add spinach cheese sauce to penne.
Mix well. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts (if you have them) and prepare to not speak till the bowl is licked clean.
Next stop – weekend birthday celebrations!