Day 36: Finally getting the hang of making cheese sauce

February 5, 2007


One thing that this project has taught me, is how to make a real cheese sauce, from scratch, without opening a jar. And although the whole butter, flour, cheese, milk combo seems somewhat on the fat-tastic side, presumably it is no worse than a jar of Alfredo or Four Cheese sauce. Also it is preservative and colouring-free, which is no bad thing. Anyway, the first few I made were a little ropey, but now, I feel I know what I am doing, which is nice, and also seems a little impressive somehow.

Tonight, we made BLT Pasta Bake: Bacon, Leeks and Tomatoes. This was essentially macaroni cheese with the BLT elements added. One point to note, I don’t know what sort of bacon Ms Ray finds, but the bacon we have does not need to be cooked in olive oil. In fact, before we added the BLT mix to the pasta, we had to sieve it to drain the excess fat away. Nice. But overall, the meal was tasty, comforting winter fare. Although despite my high hopes, it was made in 3 separate pans and an oven-proof dish. We have enough left over for lunch tomorrow despite halving the called for quantities. It looks like the sort of pasta which gets better overnight. Good leftover lunch on the horizon.

Now is as good a time as any to discuss our relative cooking skills and merits. I would say that while I definitely cook the most often in this house, mainly due to the fact that L has a real job with an hour commute, L is far more skilled. He can actually make white sauces from scratch without a recipe. He is the one who comes to rescue my botched attempts at thickening gravy with huge gobs of flour. He knows how to use cornflour and cooks an elaborate roast duck each Christmas. He can make super fancy meals, although it doesn’t happen very often. He is certainly a man who can cook. He can also chop and prepare veg like a pro, in fact I once had a flat-mate who would come and stare at him chop onions and carrots in the kitchen. That was a little strange; she also only ever made food that was entirely white, which may be weirdly related to her own lack of chopping skills. Anyway, my vegetables are always chunky or rustic or homestyle. My finely chopped herbs are like clumps of plants pulled from the ground. However, I have one trick up my sleeve, I can follow instructions. I like recipes, I like to read cookery books. L cooks intuitively, I cook as I am directed. So for this project, he is in charge of all prep work when he is home, and I am responsible for assembly. He also does all the clean-up. I have a feeling that I may be on the winning side of this deal.

Tomorrow, we are attempting Warm Lemon Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Pears. It sounds classy and that.

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