Monday, 26 March 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

It has been a while since I've posted here, but work and social obligations have been getting the better of me, and as a result I have not been eating at home as often as I would like to. This has been a post that I have been planning for a while though; a few months ago I came across a post on Lifehacker that suggested cooking pasta in milk as a base for macaroni and cheese, the staple that Americans love. I happened to have most of the Basics ingredients that are needed, leftover from previous posts, so I thought I might as well run the stockpile down and experiment with this.

The only ingredient that I did not have though is milk. Up till now I have been using fresh milk as and when needed. I was aware that supermarkets usually stock UHT milk, but the thought to actually check the corresponding aisle for Basics UHT milk did not occur to me until the time I actually walked past it. Since then I have been waiting for an opportunity to use this in a blog.

Ultra High Temperature milk gets heated to a point where the flavour changes, but all bacteria gets killed. This is why you can store packs of UHT milk without refrigeration. This contrasts with fresh milk which is only pasteurised, killing only a large proportion of bacteria, hence requiring constant refrigeration to remain fit for human consumption. To date in the UK, I have only encountered UHT milk at gatherings where milk is provided for addition to tea and coffee, where the flavour of the milk does not matter so much so long as it has not gone bad, and this is perhaps where the Basics UHT milk is most suitable.

Preparation is a simple matter of boiling Basics pasta in milk, and adding Basics grated cheddar, finishing with Basics grated hard cheese on the top. To liven it up a bit I added Basics pepper and herb mix, and topped it with Basics bacon grilled to a crisp.

This was a resounding success. This is easy to prepare and very filling, and since the excess starch from the dried pasta goes to forming the sauce rather than being poured away when draining the pasta after cooking, very little gets wasted. Care should be taken however when boiling milk in a pan, as the milk close to the bottom might burn, making washing up more difficult afterwards.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
UHT Milk£0.491l+£0.32Choice of semi-skimmed and full cream, possibly better flavour

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