Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mac n cheese challenge #1 - Truffled macaroni bries

Can't resist a play on words me - macaroni bries? I ask you!
Just 3 ingredients - a self saucing mac n' cheese - how easy & luxurious does it get? I really didn't set out to use these luxury ingredients for this mac n'cheese challenge - it just kind of happened.

So what would your luxury be on your desert island be? Mine would be easy. The (self replenishing) cheese counter from a small department store in Knightsbridge called H.A.Rods. Even if under the rules of DID you weren't allowed to have a working electric item, I think just being able to look at it would be enough. Maybe it could be set in formaldehyde?

The joy of working in London was July and August were always relatively quiet as the city workers all went on holiday, so our functions dwindled down to a small ebb, and we were allowed a little taste of real life. Perfectly timed for the BBC proms season. It was just a short(ish) walk (only 2 miles) accross hyde park from Claridges to the Albert Hall. However if you hopped on the tube from Green Park and got off at Knightsbridge rather than South Ken you just had to walk past H.A.Rods on the way.

That was where I first came accross brie de Meaux aux truffes - a whole 3kg brie de Meaux sliced laterally and a whole pile of black truffles stuffed in the middle and put together and matured. How can you say no? So I got 1lb which was supposed to last all week. Well it was supposed to. But, you know, the sun was shining in the park, there were a few hours to the start (and I had a season ticket - so no queueing), I was reading a good book.... and..... well it was just too good to stop.

But I have never found anything similar since. Last year I found one 'brie with truffles' in a local cheese shop but it was like this one - looks nice, but it really hasn't got the intense flavour. But then I realised - why not just make my own?

I had had the tuffles for a while maturing away - and the organic St. Eadburgh (the Gorsehill Abbey Farm version of camembert) was the ideal cheese, I just needed an excuse to make it.
As I was thinking over Fiona Beckett's mac n' cheese challenge in December I couldn't help thinking how macaroni cheese sounds like macaroni bries (or breeze too - now there's an idea). Also I'd been meaning to try out Jan's baked camembert since the previous Feb (I'd even saved the Oxford Isis box - but it didn't fit). Why not fit all three ideas together in one?





Unlike the pasta I made for the lobster mac, I cheated and used dried for this one. After the layer of truffle and macaroni I put the other half on top and let it mature in the fridge for 3 days.

Last Sunday (17 Jan) was finally our Christmas lunch (postponed from the Sunday before due to the white sutff) - mini Christmas we call it. As I drove over to Broadway with this macaroni brie in the passenger seat I did wonder whether it was a little far fetched. But then you have to try everything once! I thought it would be nice for everyone else to try at least.

I baked it in the oven c. 10 mins @150 oC. and let it cool slightly before serving with a few biscuits to dunk in like you do with a fondue.
The verdict? Cheesy heaven. It may work better on it's own though - as in for a Saturday lunch/brunch. I polished off the remainder later that evening with toasted ciabatta to dip in - felt like Christmas all over again.

Related posts:

Lobster thermidor macaroni cheese

5 comments:

Joy said...

Oh my gosh - I think my bum got bigger just reading that post. Very dangerous - I would actually make that and eat most of it all on my own.... Delicious! :)

Jan said...

Oooh - How did I miss this! Now this is a great idea!
But sadly I'm not rich enough to buy truffles :(

James said...

Joy - Yep quite easy to eat in one go :o

Jan - I just had them left from something else. You could try dried ceps, or sauteed fresh mushrooms. Or pancetta, or just do it plain.

Grazing Kate said...

Hi! Just discovered your blog as I have a current obsession with truffle brie - lucky you can only get it in Harrods by the sound of it or I'd be fat and skint! I have just blogged about my experience of truffle brie that friends brought over from Holland. Looks like you were very generous with your truffles in this dish - the truffles on the brie were far more sparing. I shall now have a look at the rest of your blog, Cheers, Kate

James said...

An obsession with brie and truffles is going to be life long! =)

Generous with the truffles? Well if you're going to be decadent you might there's no point in doing it by halves.