Category Archives: Meat

Sausage Stuffing Bonbons

They say that you’re obsessed with food when you start coming up with recipes and ideas at night before you go to sleep and this was certainly one of those occasions. In a moment of pure madness (and yet slight genius), I came up with my Sausage Stuffing Bonbons.

Now please bear with me, I struggled to come up with a name for these because “Sausage Balls” is too much of an innuendo for me to handle and especially if I add the word “crunchy” to it (as I did in my first draft)! I ended up calling them Sausage Stuffing Bonbons because they are little balls of sausage meat coated in a breadcrumb stuffing mix and bonbons makes them sound more playful and fun.

The idea first came to me when I wanted to try making my own Scotch eggs which soon turned into making mini Scotch eggs and then becoming Scotch eggs without an egg. Okay they are essentially a meatball however the difference between a standard meatball and my Sausage Stuffing Bonbons is that they are coated in a crunchy breadcrumb coating like a Scotch egg. Then I had a brainwave to use a sage and onion stuffing mix (which is essentially flavoured breadcrumbs) as the coating which compliments the sausage meat amazingly.

This recipe makes a pack of sausages that you get in a supermarket just a bit different with not much effort at all. These would be ideal for a party because they are so simple, cheap, fuss-free and can be made a day ahead (and baked on the day) but they also make a great little snack (if you can stop at having just a few because that stuffing coating makes these totally addictive). If you want to add a bit of extra fun, pop them on a lollipop stick and you have a savoury lollipop!


1lb (454g) Cumberland sausages

2 tbsp plain flour

40g plain flour

1 egg

3 slices of white bread

60g sage and onion stuffing mix

Dips, condiments and sauces, to serve


Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment.

Squeeze out the sausage meat from the skins into a mixing bowl, adding the 2 tablespoons of plain flour and season well with salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine until it is well mixed. Form 24 balls of the sausage meat and set aside.

Place the plain flour into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Beat together the eggs in another small bowl. In a food processor, blitz the bread into breadcrumbs and transfer to a large bowl. Then put the stuffing mix into the processor and blitz briefly until it is a fine crumb and then mix with the breadcrumbs.

Roll each ball lightly in the seasoned flour, coat in the beaten egg and then toss through the stuffing breadcrumb mixture. Place the balls onto the baking tray, leaving space in between each one.

Bake the sausage balls for around 20 – 25 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the coating is crisp and golden brown, turning halfway through. Drain the balls on kitchen paper before serving.

Serve warm alongside a variety of dips and condiments such as tomato salsa (as pictured), chutneys or relishes.

Slow Cooker Pulled Bacon with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

It used to be the case that meats that took a long time to cook were cheaper than the quicker cuts and while generally that still remains true, I found a little secret in some supermarkets which inverts that rule. “Cooking bacon” is what the supermarkets call those pieces of bacon which they can’t make into rashers and they put it all into one pack and it’s RIDICULOUSLY cheap, £1.15 for 1kg of bacon.

You do have to sort through all of the different packs as some of them can be incredibly fatty however if you do get a good pack then the bacon can be used in replacement for rashers, lardons or even slow cooked to make the most amazing pulled bacon!

My tips for looking for a good pack of cooking bacon is to choose a pack that contains hardly any fat/pieces of rind and depending on what you want to use it for, find a pack that contains what you want; packs usually either contain small rashers or large steaks. For my pulled bacon recipe, it’s best to go for the steaks. Of course choosing a pack with no fat/rind can be tricky so spend a few minutes preparing the bacon by trimming off any large pieces of fat/rind.

The pulled bacon is incredibly versatile and when it’s pulled in this way, it makes it go a lot further but for now, I am sharing my recipe for a homemade barbecue sauce which I mix with the pulled bacon and serve on poured over chips, similar in style to the Canadian dish poutine, which is chips topped with chewy cheese curds and covered in gravy.


For the slow cooker bacon:

200ml apple juice

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

1 clove of garlic, crushed

½ tsp paprika

A pinch of dried chilli flakes

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1kg cooking bacon

For the barbecue sauce:

40g tomato puree

60g tomato ketchup

40g soft dark brown sugar

2 tbsp malt vinegar

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp hot sauce such as Tabasco or sriracha

Chips and grated cheese, to serve


Pour the apple juice and all the spices and seasonings into a 1.5L slow cooker. Mix to combine and place onto low while you prepare the bacon.

Trim off any large pieces of fat on the bacon and discard. Cut the bacon into manageable sized pieces that will fit into your slow cooker and then submerge into the slow cooker. Use a spoon to stir the contents so that the bacon chunks are coated in the spices.

Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker onto high and leave the bacon to slow cook for around 4 to 5 hours until the bacon is soft and falls apart easily, giving the contents a stir every hour or so. Once cooked, turn off the slow cooker and leave the bacon to sit in its cooking juices for 15 minutes. Gently lift out as much of the bacon as you can and use two forks to pull apart the bacon.

For the barbecue sauce, heat together all of the ingredients with 100ml of water and 100ml of the cooking liquid in a saucepan, stirring it constantly until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium and leave it to simmer for around 15 minutes until it has reduced slightly, stirring every so often to prevent sticking. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.

Mix together the pulled bacon with the barbecue sauce in the pan and spoon over the cooked chips in a bowl and finish with a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Recreating Wagamama’s Chicken Teriyaki Donburi

I’m going to say that around 50% of people reading this typed in “Wagamama’s Chicken Teriyaki Donburi’ into a search engine and got to this blogpost. I’d also bet that you went onto Wagamama’s website and was disappointed at their recipe/guide on how to make it yourself at home – I know I certainly was! I decided to create my own recipe for a much tastier version of Wagamama’s Chicken Teriyaki Donburi (and much cheaper too!)

The word teriyaki itself is a combination of ‘teri’ which refers to the shine that comes from the reduced soy sauce and sugar and ‘yaki’ which refers to the method of grilling. I adapt this slightly and cook the chicken in my wok until cooked and then adding the ingredients for the sauce to the wok, almost backwards marinating if you will.

For ease, I cooked my rice in a rice cooker. They are a fantastic piece of kitchen equipment because they save the hassle of cooking rice over the hob, gas or electric, and using microwave rice. Cheap long grain rice works just fine here and you can bulk out your expensive jasmine or basmati rice with the cheap long grain rice to make it go further. A 1.5L rice cooker, which is more than enough to cook 4 servings, ranges in price from £15 to £30.

The time it takes to cook the rice is also how long it takes to cook the chicken teriyaki itself, making for a perfect dinner. I slice the chicken breasts into strips so that they can cook quicker but also makes the chicken breast go a bit further. You can also use chicken thighs for this recipe, they have a bit more flavour but make sure that they are skinless and boneless. I serve the chicken teriyaki with raw carrots for crunch, rocket for pepperiness, sesame and chill broad beans to up the vegetable content and kimchi for a punchy kick. You can find kimchi in refrigerated packets in most Asian supermarkets.

This would also go really well with my Romaine Lettuce Kimchi, which has been one of my most popular posts in 2017!


300g long grain rice

2 tbsp oil

3 chicken breasts, sliced into strips

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 tbsp light soy sauce

6 tbsp dark soy sauce

150ml white wine

3 tbsp sugar – you could also use honey

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 carrot, cut into thin strips

60g rocket leaves

150g frozen broad beans

1 tsp sesame oil

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

100g kimchi, optional


Wash the rice under cold water until the water runs clear, then place into the bowl of your rice cooker. Add enough water to the rice cooker to reach just under the first crease of your middle finger when you touch the surface of the rice with your middle finger. Switch on the rice cooker and leave the rice to cook.

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium high heat. Cook the chicken breast strips in the wok until they are cooked through, stirring to stop it from sticking. Once cooked, add in the crushed garlic, the two soy sauces, the white wine and the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Leave the teriyaki sauce to boil down and reduce by half. When reduced by half, add in a handful of the spring onions and carrots and reduce by a third.

Place the broad beans into a pan of salted boiling water and cook for around 7 – 8 minutes until they are soft and tender. Drain away the water and return to the pan, adding in the teaspoon of sesame oil and chilli flakes. Toss to coat.

Remove the chicken from the wok and place into a small bowl and set aside. Continue to reduce the sauce, letting it thicken naturally until it coats the back of a spoon. Return the chicken to the sauce and warm through.

When the rice is cooked, fluff it up using a fork and then divide equally between 4 bowls. Lay the carrots around the left side of the bowl, the rocket leaves around the right side of the bowl and then fill the centre with the chicken, drizzling the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Serve the broad beans and kimchi in a bowl on the side.

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with a Homemade Spicy Tomato Sauce

Enchiladas are a favourite of many people with a tasty meat filling in a tortilla wrap covered with a flavoursome tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese. My version is filled with sliced chicken breast mixed with spicy pickled jalapenos.

  img_5171

The chicken breast is panfried in cumin oil. I simply place cold oil into my frying pan and season the oil with salt and add the cumin seeds. As the pan heats up, the cumin seeds start to release their aroma and as the chicken cooks in the pan, the seeds release flavour and the chicken absorbs this flavour. Cumin itself, for me, is a very Mexican spice, with its background warmth and toastiness which adds so much depth to a lot of Mexican food.

I think making the tomato sauce from scratch makes a huge difference to this dish. The spices and sweating down the onions and peppers add a lot of flavour and liven up the enchiladas. The sauce is also fantastic with pasta so making extra sauce is always a good idea so you can have a quick meal when you get home from a long day.

The dish I used was a ceramic baking dish from Poundland and I found the mini tortilla wraps from Tesco. You can use any baking dish you have in your cupboard, just make sure that your wraps fit inside it otherwise you might have a bit of trouble squeezing it into your dish.


For the chicken:

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts

For the spicy tomato sauce:

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 onion, finely sliced into half moons

1 tomato, diced

1 tbsp tomato puree

½ tsp coriander seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

50g curly kale, finely chopped, stalky bits removed

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp cornflour

For the enchiladas:

30g pickled red jalapenos, finely chopped

6 mini wheat tortilla wraps or 4 normal wheat tortilla wraps

50g cheese of your choice, grated; I used Double Gloucester


Place the cumin seeds and salt into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Heat up the pan until the oil is hot and the seeds begin to colour and release their aroma. Panfry the chicken breasts in the cumin oil to brown on each side. The chicken will let you know when it needs to be turned over because it won’t stick to the pan.

Once browned, place onto a baking tray and bake the chicken breasts in an oven preheated to 200˚C. Bake the chicken breasts for around 20 – 25 minutes, depending on how thick they are, until they are cooked all the way through and no pinkness remains; if you have a food thermometer, it must exceed 74˚C.

For the spicy tomato sauce, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Add in the diced peppers and sliced onions and cook them for around 7-8 minutes until they have softened and the onions are translucent. Add in the fresh tomato and the tomato puree and cook the puree out for a minute. Add in all the spices at once and the sugar, some salt and some pepper and stir to combine.

Throw in the kale and the chopped tomatoes. Fill the tin halfway full of water and swill the tin and add to the pan. Stir and bring it to the boil and allow to reduce by about a quarter. Mix the cornflour with some water to form a slurry and add to the sauce, stirring to thicken. Continue to cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Leave to cool slightly.

Shred or chop the chicken into small strips and place into a bowl with the chopped jalapenos. Spoon about half of the contents of the pan into the bowl, avoiding too much of the sauce, and mix together.

Divide the chicken mix between your wraps, placing them in a line in the centre of the wrap. Roll up the tortilla, tucking in the wrap so that they form a tight roll. Place them seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour over the remaining sauce over the top and spread over. Sprinkle over your cheese (I didn’t have a grater so just chopped it up finely).

img_5166img_5167

Bake for around 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese has melted, the sauce is bubbling and any exposed edges of the tortillas have crisped up. Serve on their own as pictured or with sour cream, coriander and a wedge of lime.

img_5168 img_5171

12 Days Bonus: Roast Chicken Dinner for 5 for £5

When you think of student food, you might think beans on toast, instant noodles and cold sausage rolls out of the fridge. In my first semester of university, 2 of those were meals that I ate when I became really desperate and was just way too tired after a long day of lectures to cook from scratch (and that was very often, thank god for the freezer). In fact there was a whole lot of food that I made in that tiny student kitchen, here’s just some of them:

img_5011 img_5012

But perhaps what you wouldn’t expect from a student kitchen is a Roast Chicken Dinner for 5, cooked entirely from scratch. And with it being Christmas in just a few days time, I thought I would share how I did our flat’s very early Christmas dinner (we actually did this back in October!).

img_4096

You’ll notice that for the trimmings, frozen and tinned vegetables play a pivotal role. Frozen is much cheaper than their fresh equivalents and often have more nutrients than their fresh equivalents since the nutrients are locked in when they are frozen after being picked at their peak ripeness; this is supposedly when they are also packed with nutrients. As fresh vegetables (and fruit) are picked when they are under-ripe so that they can ripen at home, they don’t fulfil their nutrient potential so frozen is the smarter choice.

To save time, I spatchcocked the chicken, which basically means to remove the spine and then flattening the chicken out so that it cooks faster. It also exposes more of the skin so that it can crisp up beautifully too. I rest the chicken on a bed of chopped vegetables which absorb the flavour of the chicken and cook in its juices, forming the base of a gravy made from scratch! No instant gravy granules in this kitchen, it’s proper homemade gravy!

By no means is this the definitive guide to a roast chicken dinner and by no means is this the method which guarantees success every time. Everyone has their own way of doing their roasts, their potatoes and all the trimmings. I wanted to share what is possible in a student kitchen, cooking for 5 people on a tight budget.

img_4097

This chicken dinner cost around £5 to make in total, coming in at just over £1.20 per head, including lots of leftovers, with the chicken being the most expensive ingredient here at £3.09, while everything else cost just pence to buy.


For the roast chicken:

1.6kg medium chicken, spatchcocked

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 small swede, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 large carrot, chopped into 1cm rings

3 cloves of garlic, halved

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme

Salt and black pepper

For the crispy roast potatoes:

4 large baking potatoes, peeled

2 – 3 tbsp plain flour

75g margarine or butter

75g lard

For the trimmings:

250g frozen Brussel sprouts

1 x 170g packet of sage and onion stuffing mix

15 frozen Yorkshire puddings

1 x 210g tin of sweetcorn

200g frozen peas

1 x 400g tin of sliced carrots

For the gravy:

2 – 3 tbsp plain flour

250ml chicken stock

1 tbsp chicken gravy granules (optional)

To serve:

Mint sauce

Cranberry sauce


Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Spatchcock the chicken by taking a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and cutting along the sides of the spine to remove it. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breastside to flatten it out. Wash your hands and then season the chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place all the chopped vegetables and garlic cloves into the bottom of a roasting tin large enough to hold the chicken. Season and then rest the spatchcocked chicken on top. Rub the olive oil over the skin and through the vegetables.

img_4091

Roast the chicken for around 1 hour and 30 minutes, basting the chicken with the juices in the roasting tin after every 30 minutes, letting the skin turn a wonderful crispy golden brown and the vegetables colour and soften. After the cooking time, leave the chicken to rest either on a plate or a disposable foil tray covered with more foil for around 15 minutes.

img_4092 img_4094

Meanwhile get started on the roast potatoes. Chop the potatoes into 2-inch pieces and boil them in salted water until they are just tender enough to insert a knife in. At this point, take another roasting dish and add in the fat and place it in the oven to get hot. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then give them a good shake so that the edges are fluffy (this gets them really crisp!) and toss over the flour to coat the potatoes; this coating ensures extra crispiness. Tip the potatoes carefully into the hot fat and shake them around to coat the potatoes evenly. The potatoes will take around 45 to 50 minutes to roast, moving them around every 10 – 15 minutes or so, making sure they aren’t stuck to the tin.

img_4093

In the meantime, you can prepare the trimmings. The vegetables can simply be reheated in the microwave when you are ready to serve. For the sprouts, I cook them in salted boiling water with 1 tablespoon of mint sauce added to the cooking liquid until they are completely soft before draining. For the stuffing, follow the instructions on the packet and make them into stuffing balls which should take around 25 – 30 minutes to cook. The tinned vegetables can be done right at the last minute while the chicken rests, as can the Yorkshire puddings.

Once the chicken has cooked through and is resting in foil, remove as many of the roasted vegetables as you can, and place them into the bowl which will have the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and whisk the flour into the cooking liquid. Cook the flour out for 1 minute, also scraping off all the bits in the tin which will add lots of flavour.

img_4095

Gradually whisk in the chicken stock, adding more only once the previous addition is incorporated, until you have a smooth gravy. Add in the juices which have collected on the plate from the resting chicken and then season the gravy to taste, adding in gravy granules if it needs to be meatier or thicker. Add the vegetables back in and transfer the gravy to a saucepan to stay warm while you finish off the trimmings and carve the chicken up.

img_4096

And since this is a 12 Days of Christmas bonus post, we couldn’t end this post without throwing back to the original 12 Days recipes! Here are all 12 of the posts below and if you haven’t already, then they are certainly worth checking out!!

Day 1: Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes

Day 2: Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 3: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

Day 4: White Chocolate and Cranberry Crunch Biscuits

Day 5: Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti

Day 6: Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes

Day 7: Essential Cuisine Turkey Gravy Review

Day 8: Gingerbread Hazelnut Latte Biscotti

Day 9: Christmas Present Cake

Day 10: Mini Irish Cream Cheesecakes 

Day 11: Chocolate Slabs and Chocolate Bark

Day 12: White Chocolate Confetti Popcorn

img_5024

Day 7 of 12: Essential Cuisine Turkey Gravy Review

Essential Cuisine makes award winning stocks and premium gravies and this Christmas, they have launched a new Turkey Gravy to accompany your roast dinners with all of the trimmings. Seasoned with a hint of sage to boost its savoury goodness, the gravy can be made in advance and stirred into the cooking liquid.

img_4317

And even better, it’s currently reduced by 20% on their website and is just £2 for for a 76g pot which gives 1L of gravy! You can find their site here.

The preparation for this gravy is different to gravy granules. 3 teaspoons of the Turkey Gravy powder is whisked into 250ml of water in a pan and brought to the boil while stirring continuously until it thickens. For this reason, when I first made the gravy, I thought it was going wrong and I hadn’t followed the recipe correctly. However soon the colour of the gravy changes and it begins to look promising. Not only that, the aroma coming from the pan is completely reminiscent of a Christmas dinner. I’m excited to taste it.

It’s certainly nothing like gravy made from gravy granules which is a deep dark brown colour with a strong meaty profile (which, whilst satisfying, can actually be quite overpowering). And since this gravy is made for turkey, which is a delicate meat, you don’t want any strong flavours. However I’m a big fan of gravy and so I decided to use it in different meals just to prove its versatility.

Check out Jamie’s Cookery’s Turkey Shepherd’s Pie which also uses Essential Cuisine Turkey Gravy!


I paired it firstly with a breaded chicken breast with roasted garlic asparagus and Yorkshire puddings (not homemade unfortunately!). The gravy was mopped up perfectly by the Yorkshires and the chicken and complimented both the garlicky asparagus and the chicken well.

img_4634

For the asparagus, I snap off the woody ends and place them in the centre of a square of foil. Season with salt and pepper and add some finely chopped garlic. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and seal the foil parcel up and give it a shake to coat. Place into a preheated oven at 200˚C and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, depending on how thick the stems are. I like my asparagus to have a tiny bit of crunch but you can adjust the cooking time to your preference.


This Christmas, I want you to take your leftover turkey or chicken and transform it into a brand new meal and not just a soggy leftover sandwich! Keep on hand some potatoes and some leeks and some of the cranberry sauce and you have yourself my Leftover Christmas Potato Cakes.

img_4589

Reinventing the leftovers is always a challenge but these potato cakes will be a warm and comforting meal that you can easily make ahead and freeze too! I wouldn’t recommend using leftover roast potatoes because their crunchy and crisp exterior needs to be savoured, but have a few large potatoes on hand to make these potato cakes.

Boil 450g of potatoes in a pan of salted water until they are soft and tender. Drain the excess water and allow to cool. Chop the potatoes up, remove as much of the skin as you can and mash the potato until it is relatively lump free. Fry off 1 leek, chopped into half moons, in some butter until it is soft and translucent and season with salt and pepper. Add to the potatoes.

Mix through 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of plain flour, 200g leftover meat which has been shredded, and 50g of cranberry sauce. It should form a soft but not sticky dough which can be shaped into potato cakes; I got 9 out of this mixture. Fry off the potato cakes in some oil (or butter if you prefer) until they are browned well on both sides; you may need to wipe down the pan between frying as they do have a slight tendency to break apart.

img_4590

Serve the potato cakes with gravy and a light salad of rocket leaves.


Also make sure to check out my first 6 Days of Christmas!

Day 1: Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes

Day 2: Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 3: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

Day 4: White Chocolate and Cranberry Crunch Biscuits

Day 5: Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti

Day 6: Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes

Making a White Sauce for Smoked Bacon and Broccoli Pasta

If there is one recipe that you have to know, it’s how to make a white sauce. The humble white sauce itself is incredibly versatile; whether you use it as a binding agent for something like fishcakes, a sauce base for pasta and pies or even as a topping for open sandwiches and gravies, you can see just how essential it is to your cooking.

img_3688 img_3689

The standard recipe calls for an equal quantity of fat, which is melted, and flour which is cooked out over the heat to remove that raw floury taste to create a roux. Cold milk is added in multiple additions so that as the sauce gradually becomes looser and the roux absorbs the milk, it becomes a sliky smooth sauce that is lump free. As the sauce begins to take shape, you can add more milk at a time. The traditional seasoning is nutmeg which really works in the white sauce. You might read some recipes that say to whisk the sauce constantly but I find that you can leave the hob for a few seconds without worrying about burning sauces.

And what’s more, you don’t have to stick to just milk. I always add some cream cheese to mine which adds silkiness and richness but you can also add some double cream to your white sauce or if you want a veloute, which is another one of the “mother sauces” of classical cookery, you can add stock instead, whether that’s fish, chicken or vegetable.

It’s perhaps not entirely classic to use the same pan that you cook bacon in to make the béchamel (the French for white sauce, it just sounds better) however I think it adds a lot of extra flavour and colour to the classic white sauce and it just saves on the extra washing up!

I’m using my white sauce in my Smoked Bacon and Broccoli Pasta which is a fantastically quick meal to make when you are looking for something warming and comforting. I can make it in 20 minutes from start to finish and this includes cooking the bacon, pasta, broccoli and the white sauce.

img_4406

This recipe is enough for 2 servings so make more and keep it in the fridge for lunch the next day or a quick microwave dinner when you get home and you want something quick and easy.


140g dried pasta, such as penne or fusilli

2 rashers of smoked bacon

¼ a head of broccoli, florets cut off and cut into 1 inch pieces

20g margarine

30g plain flour

120 – 200ml whole milk

30g mature cheddar, chopped into cubes

30g cream cheese (or crème fraiche)

¼ tsp ground nutmeg, to season

White pepper, to season


In a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the bacon until it is cooked through and browned well. Remove from the pan and drain the excess oil on kitchen paper. Then chop the bacon into strips. Do not clean the frying pan.

Fill a saucepan half full with boiling water and season well with salt. Add the dried pasta and cook according to packet instructions. When there are 6 minutes left of cooking, add in the broccoli florets and continue to cook.

Add in the margarine to the frying pan and melt. Once melted, add the plain flour and whisk until it forms a thick brown paste – this is the roux. Over the heat, add the milk in slowly, whisking between each addition until the milk has been incorporated and to prevent lumps forming. Continue to add enough milk until it forms a sauce which has a coating consistency and is thick; imagine pouring it over a chicken breast and it doesn’t run off.

At this stage, remove 50ml of the cooking water from the pasta pan and add it into the sauce along with the cheddar and cream cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted and the sauce becomes silky. Add the nutmeg and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Once the pasta is cooked – some like it al dente, I like it to be quite soft so I always cook mine a bit longer than I should! – drain it with the broccoli and add it all at once to the white sauce along with the bacon pieces. Stir to coat everything in the sauce and taste again for seasoning. Serve with garlic bread or it is just as good on its own.