Friday, 27 December 2013


It is sometimes quite difficult being in a relationship with different nationalities as we all have our own traditions especially around Christmas - in France they celebrate on 24th December with presents and a huge supper - just like we have but on 25th. The logical (although expensive) idea would be to celebrate on both days but the thought of two huge Christmas meals is not appealing to Pascal, Arabella & I. So we decided to celebrate on Christmas Eve with one of our favourites - Mac & Cheese - in fact it turned out to be a perfect day of eating for me as I had had my other favourite for lunch - a cheeseburger!!

I rarely cook when I am in France, this is one of the first times, I couldn't buy all the correct ingredients so had to improvise in places (for example Arabella broke up the bread into tiny pieces to make the breadcrumbs and the cheddar was a combination of emmental, mozzarella & Comte cheese)!

Ingredients for 4 people:

250g macaroni
2 big leeks trimmed and chopped
splash of olive oil
100g spinach
2 x 125g balls of mozzarella cheese
200g half fat creme fraiche
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
150g mature cheddar cheese
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g Parmesan cheese, grated or flakes
350g lardons (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C fan/ 200C /gas mark 6.

First of all cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions (the macaroni should be slightly undercooked). 

At the same time fry the lardons and the leeks for about 8-10 minutes. If you are vegetarian you can always leave the bacon out.

A couple of minutes before the macaroni is ready, add the spinach in the same saucepan.

Once this is ready take the pan off the heat and drain away the water in a colander. Then put it all back in the pan and mix in the bacon and leeks.

Now for my favourite part - tearing in half/two thirds of the mozzarella and mixing in the cheddar (I'm always over generous with the amount of cheese obviously), creme fraiche & Dijon mustard.

Put the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Then cook in the oven for 25 minutes until it is crispy and golden. 

And then tuck on in!!

Absolutely delicious - it was devoured by both adults and child. We adore it as it's a naughtyish dish but it also has the added bonus of healthy green veg. 

We all enjoyed it immensely (I wish I could have had it all over again for Christmas lunch) - and it is the perfect heart warming dish for miserable weather….although I would be happy to eat it on a beautiful summer's day or anytime for that matter!! I once cooked it for a dinner party and Arabella cried as there was none left for her the next day!!

To save time you can easily prepare it the day before or that morning and then put it in the fridge until you are ready. It will take 30-35 minutes if you cook it straight from the fridge. 



  1. I like this grown up version of mac-n-cheese. Sometimes for fun we take childhood favorites and add some adult gourmet flavors. Once when we did this with mac-n-cheese we used a combination of cheeses including one with truffles. I recently tried the cheese with truffles with a bottle of Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape and it was great. Makes me want to make the mac n cheese again - stealing some of your additions, and pair it with a bottle. Could also see this being terrific with a craft beer. What wine did you drink?

  2. I love a mac and cheese with truffles - one of the best ones I have ever had was at the restaurant Automat in Piccadilly. I must try and make one! Great choice on wine - we drunk a Chateau La Gaffeliere Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2007 Comte de Malet Roquefort. I am not that knowledgeable about wines but my fiancé is & I certainly like drinking them!! Happy New Year x