in today's video , I thought we'd look at macaroni cheese or if you prefer macaroni and cheese .
So I thought it'd be interesting to compare two sort of instant Mac and cheese offerings with a homemade .
So I'm gonna be looking at the Kraft boxed Mac and cheese product , which I understand is very popular in the United States , and in fact this one is imported from there , and I'll also make the kind of equivalent , which is this all in one sachet from a supermarket here in the UK .
And then finally , I'll show you how I do it homemade .
This video is sponsored by the question What if and the answer ?
Let's find out .
I was watching the bees on the flowers in my herb garden the other day , and I wondered , What if I collected some of these flowers just the flowers themselves , and dried them for use as culinary herbs ?
Would they retain their colour ?
Would they have any noticeable kind of flavour ?
Let's find out .
I spent about an hour of my time carefully picking the deep blue flowers from his pale blue flowers from winter savoury and pink and white flowers from two different varieties of margarine .
This might seem like a waste of an hour , but it was quite relaxing .
Just being there amongst the herbs and the bees , I make sure to leave plenty of flowers for them .
In fact , all of the flowers you see here are quite ephemeral .
They will wilt away after a day or so , and will all be replaced by new flowers from other buds on the same stems throughout the flowering season .
For these plants , I would have liked to include some flowers from thyme and rosemary and sage , too .
But those have already finished flowering for this year .
I spread the flowers out on a sheet of kitchen paper towel clipped inside a bowl to stop them just blowing away .
And I left this in an airy place , but out of direct sunlight as that might fade their colours or drive off some aromas .
After two days , the flowers had dried completely .
I picked out a few that had gone brown and transferred the rest into a little bottle .
Not a lot of product here for all that work , but what will it taste like ?
Let's find out .
I'll be tasting it in the form of a little garnishing flourish on each of the surf plates in this video .
So today we're gonna be trying the classic Kraft macaroni and cheese box mix .
This is the one that everybody talks about .
It's really not that common in the UK .
Apparently , it's really popular in the United States , so we're gonna try it today .
This is actually an import from the United States , so this is the authentic product of the USA version .
Instructions are six cups of water , four tablespoons of margarine or butter , a quarter of a cup of milk .
We boil the water , add the pasta , cook it for 7.5 minutes , then we drain it and then we add the milk , the butter and the cheese sauce mix .
It doesn't say anything about cooking afterwards , so I presume that's an instant cheese sauce mix that cooks in the residual heat of the pasta .
It doesn't say anything about heating there , but we'll have to take that and play that by ear .
Well , that's supposed to open like that .
I don't know if you meant to pour it out of that hole , but then you wouldn't get the packet of cheese sauce out , would you ?
Yeah , I sort of expected .
This would be a an all in one mix where you just dump everything in and boil it and and it makes the sauce as at the same time as cooking the pasta .
We'll get back to that in a moment because the UK equivalent of this the most common UK equivalent of this do work that way .
Let's get going .
Let's get the water on the boil .
That's the cheese sauce mix .
We'll measure out the milk and butter in a minute .
The macaroni in here is quite small compared to what I didn't normally expect , and I imagine that's just to make it quicker to cook .
OK , waters come to a boil and goes the pasta so the ingredients on this one are enriched macaroni , which is wheat flour .
Durum flour , niacin ferro sulphate , thin Monin Nate , which is vitamin B .
One riboflavin , which is vitamin B , two folic acid and then the cheese sauce mix is way milk , fat , milk , protein concentrates , salt , sodium , tri phosphate and , it says , contains less than 2% of citric acid , lactic acid sodium phosphate , calcium phosphate with paprika , turmeric and a NATO added for colour .
OK , that's 7.5 minutes of cooking .
We need to drain that now , so we drain that .
But don't rinse butter .
I will get straight in the pan so that it starts to melt .
Pasta's in on top of that butter cheese sauce .
Wow , what a colour !
And the milk , a quarter cup of milk .
And then , well , there's no instruction to heat this , So I am just gonna stir this in .
And interestingly , the sauce mix when you look at the ingredients , doesn't have any starch or anything like that in it .
It's just cheese powder and way powder and things like that , so it doesn't need to cook to thicken .
And that does appear to work .
That surprised me .
Very different method to what I'm used to doing either when I make the real macaroni cheese or when I make a packet mix OK and I'll serve up probably half of that .
I think together with some homegrown cherry tomatoes and a little snip of infinite basil from the infinite basil conveyor , Right , Let's go out to the table and give it a taste , OK ?
And just to make this a bit fancy .
I'm gonna use some of my dried herb flowers just as a garnish .
So this is the Kraft macaroni and cheese box mix .
Let's give a Give it a try completely on its own first .
Not especially cheesy .
In fact , really Very mild .
Quite a lot more salty than I would normally expect .
A macaroni and cheese to be tasting .
And we have it together with some of the garnish .
Nice enough , Really .
Just a little bit .
Kind of On the bland side , I would say .
Not conspicuously cheesy .
It's kind of salty rather than cheesy .
Now it tastes with cheese , So yeah , the verdict on the Kraft macaroni and cheese box mix salty and bland .
I'm afraid it wasn't very cheesy .
Now I always thought the boxed Kraft macaroni and cheese was gonna work something like this .
This is the product the kind of equivalent product we have here in the UK .
And it's just a packet .
It's got the macaroni and the cheese sauce and everything all in there mixed together .
And the directions for this are just place 100 mil of semi skim milk and 250 mil of cold water in a saucepan with a knob of butter or margarine .
Butter for me .
Empty the whole contents of the sachet into the liquid and stir .
And so , yeah , it is just macaroni in there together with the sauce in powder form , and then we just heat gently until the pasta is cooked and the sauce is at the desired consistency .
So it's a bit lumpy at the start , but that will go away as we heat .
And it's just a case of then cook it all together , and the sauce cooks together with the starches from the pasta and kind of thickens itself .
So that's what I expected The Kraft boxed product would be like , but actually , the boxed product is a bit more complex than that .
So I suppose the question is , is the result of this gonna be any good ingredients for this while we're waiting ?
Dried pasta , Dried cheese Dried yoghurt Flavourings , which contain milk , wheat and gluten dried onion Maltodextrin dried way dried garlic sugar Dried cream Salt stabilisers , which is sodium poly phosphate trisodium phosphate disodium diphosphate Yeast extract colour , which is coin , which is , uh , turmeric extract .
So mostly recognisable ingredients in there .
The stabilisers are the only things that , uh , have got scary chemical names .
OK , so that's bubbling away .
Now I'm just gonna turn that down .
So it's just gently simmering , and now I'll just keep on stirring it and make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan .
This one's from Newgate Express , which is , uh , one of Lid's in house brands .
Every time I mention Lidl on a video , people say , No , it's Lidl at Lidl .
Um , well , at little watch one of their UK adverts .
They pronounce it lid big on quality and always lid on price .
So that's what we call it in the UK .
And that's what they call it in the UK .
We're at the eight minute mark .
Now that the packet talked about and , yeah , the pasta looks kind of more or less done .
I reckon that might be a little bit on the chewy side .
The sauce is definitely thickened up , and I'm having to keep it stirring now to stop it sticking on the bottom of the pan .
So I think we're probably nearly there .
I'm gonna give it another minute or two , cos I think that the sauce is just a little bit on the thin side , right ?
That's about 9.5 minutes .
And if I go any further than this , it's just gonna burn it in the pan .
So this is new Gate Express lid do brand macaroni and cheese instant packet .
But I think I'm just gonna add some homegrown cherry tomatoes and a tiny little Sprinkle of my interesting herb flowers .
OK , let's get that to the table .
Give it a taste .
But I would say that looks a little bit more turmeric yellow than cheese yellow .
But obviously the sauce doesn't have that colouring in it .
A little bit of pasta and sauce on its own .
First , this is the kind of offering .
As it stands , I'm not sure whether people would cook this and then bake it in the oven .
When it's from a packet like this .
I'm not sure how well it would stand that treatment .
I'm not gonna try it .
Pastor is a bit under , so it's below al dente .
It's got some bits then in there that actually don't just bite , but they stick to your teeth .
Not much of it's like that , to be honest , and it was just one or two pieces and the sauce a bit watery .
Not exactly creamy or smooth , quite cheesy tasting .
I gonna try my little herb flow now , see if that makes any difference at all .
You can actually taste them .
So there is a point where you probably realise this is the bit I filmed first .
So it's actually the first taste of those little herb flowers , and they're good .
And , of course , together with tomatoes .
Why wouldn't it be nice on its own ?
It's all right .
It's palatable enough .
I think there's probably not quite enough sauce there , not as creamy a sauce as I would like on macaroni cheese .
But it's OK , and with a little bit of dressing up , it's actually quite nice .
You might just also have a leaf from the infinite basil conveyor .
And really , there's not an awful lot to go wrong here , because I've experimented in the past by mixing dried pasta , cheese powder and some dried vegetables and just boiled out with water , and it made a cheesy sauce .
It's I think the starch from the pasta helps as much as anything else .
As I get down to the bottom of the bowl .
I'm realising this new gate express sauce is a bit sad .
It's a bit watery , and I don't think cooking it longer would have helped .
And this is what I'm talking about with the pasta .
Some of these pieces of pasta .
Oh , just a little bit too firm .
OK , now it's time to make my own homemade macaroni cheese , and I'm gonna go a little bit fancy on this .
I'm gonna use three different cheeses now , You might think that's a bit of an unfair comparison to the things we've just seen .
The packet mixes we've just seen .
But that's kind of the whole point .
When you make it yourself , you can put whatever you like in there , and I'm not gonna go completely overboard .
There's a lot of things we could do to make this a really , really fancy dish .
We're not gonna do all of them , but we are gonna do one or two things along the way just to make this a really tasty version of macaroni cheese .
So I've got mature cheddar Double Gloucester and Emmental , and I'm gonna use all three of those cheeses in the sauce and maybe a little bit of the Emmental grated on top to melt in the oven when I serve this as a main dish .
So I've got a big pot of water on the boil across the way , and I'm gonna weigh out the pasta .
I'm gonna allow 75 grammes per person , and I'm gonna make four servings here .
So that's 300 grammes .
So about 300 grammes of elbow macaroni .
Interestingly , I sometimes find it difficult to get elbow macaroni .
Some supermarkets you go in only have very straight macaroni , and I don't find that cooks as well in this dish as elbow macaroni .
Straight macaroni tends to form little rafts , and it all sticks together and you don't get any sauce in between them .
Elbow macaroni is really good because it just doesn't stack neatly .
And the sauce gets in all those little gaps .
OK , largest pan of water is on the boil .
Now I'm just gonna put in a tiny bit of salt not very much , because there's quite a lot of salt in that cheese .
And I don't want the pasta to be over seasoned and then in with the macaroni made a mess of that and we're just gonna bring that back to the boil and then simmer it until the macaroni is tender but still with a tiny bit of bite to it .
The reason for that is the pasta will absorb additional moisture from the cheese sauce al dente if you want to be posh or cheffy or if you're Italian .
So for this cheese sauce , we're gonna make a roux , which is just flour and fat cooked together .
And then we're going to add milk and then the cheese .
Normally , I'd use butter for this , but the other day we roasted a corn fed chicken , and this is the fat that came out of it .
So I'm actually using this is chicken fat .
So chicken schmaltz and I'm gonna use there's probably three tablespoons for that .
Now , as I say , I would normally use butter for this .
You can use olive oil or vegetable oil or any kind of fat you like , But I figured we've already got a lot of buttery flavours in there from all those cheeses , and I think chicken fat schmaltz will add another dimension of kind of savoury flavours .
Now that fat's melted , I'm gonna add it in flour , plain flour and again , it's about three tablespoons of flour , and we'll see if we got that right .
So I'm just gonna turn that heat right down while we combine this .
So that's two liquid , so more flour .
It smell spicy .
It smells like , Well , it smells like roast chicken .
So , um and of course , the flour makes it smell kind of like Southern fried chicken .
Like the coating .
OK , tiny little bit more flour .
I'm just adjusting the flour here to meet the amount of fat I've added .
It's gonna be quite a thick sauce because there's probably four tablespoons of flour in there , but I'm gonna make a full pint of sauce .
So now just need to turn that heat back up a bit and let that sizzle important to do this because the flour will now cook and we won't have a raw flour taste in the sauce .
And I'm just whisking it , really so that none of it burns in the corners of the pan there .
Good , that's good .
It's gone a little bit paler only needs about a minute cooking like that , and then I'm probably gonna use a the whole of this pint of milk that's 568 mil .
If you wanted it in metric , I still get my milk delivered in pints , in glass bottles to the door .
I have done all my life .
I've always had milk delivered to the door in glass bottles .
I really like that .
For some reason , there's something very nice about the foil cap and the glass bottle .
So I've had about half the milk , and I'm just gonna heat that gently .
I don't wanna go too fast here , or else it will just burn on the bottom of the pan and whisking , just making sure that I run the whisk into the corners here and it won't burn too much on the bottom .
We will get a little bit of burning on the bottom of the pan .
It's almost inevitable unless you use non stick and a a silicone spatula .
But I'm not gonna do that .
So and they're not scraping hard , so there's no danger of this is a hard stainless steel pan .
There's no danger of me scratching the pan with this steel whisk , right ?
That's starting to thicken up already , which is good and obviously what I wanted and expected .
But we can see that that's taken on a thicker texture .
So a bit more milk and I suspect we're gonna need all of that milk for this sauce .
But that's good , because I like a saucy macaroni cheese .
I tend to kind of eyeball these sauces and just just add the amounts I think is about right .
If you want a precise recipe with weights and measures , I will link one in the video description .
I just tend to make it up .
As I go along .
I add about a about an equal amount of flour and fat , which which is about several tablespoons full .
And then I just keep on adding a bit more milk until it stops thickening .
And you kind of get a feel for how much it's thickened and how much it's going to thicken more last little bit of milk in and turn it on the lowest heat .
Just let that continue to cook while I cut up the cheese and I'm gonna use a fair bit of cheese because it's half of the name of this dish so you can grate this and it will go into the sauce easier .
But I'm actually just gonna cut it up with a little knife .
Just cut it into small cubes .
Let's weigh it and we'll see how much cheese I'm actually adding .
Here , it's going to be It's gonna seem excessive .
So I've got about 65 grammes of Double Gloucester .
I'm probably gonna go for about the same amount of mature cheddar .
You can use whatever cheeses you like here .
I'm using these particular cheeses because of their combination of flavours .
So with the mature cheddar here , we've got a robust and cheesy cheese .
It's a very cheesy cheese , if that makes sense , really robust flavour .
And the double Gloster is kind of buttery and tangy and rich .
OK , that's 100 grammes of cheese so far , 100 and 10 grammes of cheese so far .
And then we'll have some Emmental in there as well .
Probably not so much of this , because it has got a slight bitterness to it , which is nice , but we don't overdo it .
So that was 100 and 10 grammes and the Emma 30 grammes .
So I've got 100 and 40 grammes of cheese there really silly not to make that up to 100 and 50 isn't it a bit more cheddar .
So 100 and 50 grammes of , well , flavoured cheese .
We'll see how that goes .
We might add more .
So just checking in on this pasta , I would say that's very nearly done .
Don't wanna get that to go too far or else it will just go all soggy and it'll stick together .
I'm just gonna take one piece out and test it .
Yeah , that's done .
I'm gonna drain that .
I'm gonna drizzle a tiny bit of oil over it just to stop it all sticking together .
Not very much .
I'll just stir that oil into the pasta just really to stop it cleaning together .
We don't wanna put too much oil on there .
That will stop the cheese sauce sticking to it .
OK , And then for now , that's just gonna go back on top of the pan and I'll put the lid on there so it doesn't cool down too much .
So back at this white sauce , it's thickened quite nicely .
I used about 500 mil of my pint of milk , and now I'm just gonna put in all at once my 150 grammes of well , flavoured cheese , any kind of cheese that melts will work here .
And if you want a milder flavour , use a mild of cheese .
I would wouldn't say Use less cheese because you'll just have a disappointingly thin sauce .
It's better to use more cheese if you can , because it will make the make the sauce that much richer and more sort of buttery .
And then I'm just gonna keep on whisking that these chunks of cheese will melt and then dissolve into the sauce .
Grating would make it quicker still , but you'll see this will just disappear into that sauce , and it will thicken it further , so we may end up having to add the rest of that milk .
I think we could probably could have had more double Gloster in there because it would have given us a bit more yellow in the sauce .
But a little bit of English mustard , about a teaspoon full of English mustard has given it a really , really yellow colour .
But mustard and cheese have this weird synergy where you put mustard and cheese sauce and it doesn't make it taste of mustard .
It makes it taste more cheesy , like a flavour enhancer .
OK , that's good .
So that's our cheese sauce and cheese is all completely melted in now , so we'll have a little taste now .
Just taste for seasoning and flavour level .
That's really good .
That's really good .
We could add a little bit more salt at this point , but I think I might do that at the table because the main dish of this that I'm making is going to have bacon on top .
And that's how to make a really nice cheesy cheese sauce not that difficult , obviously more difficult than just adding things from a packet but well worth it .
I think I've returned the pasta to the pan , and what I'm gonna do now is just put maybe about half of that cheese sauce in there with them with them maybe three quarters , and we'll just dress that pasta in the sauce .
And it needs a good stir because we want that sauce to kind of get inside of all of those tubes .
And I'm kind of making two dishes here because then we can compare it directly to those packet versions .
But also , I'm gonna make a main meal version of this and we'll have a look at how that's served later So let's just dish out a a portion there , equivalent to what I had about the other day with the packet sauces .
And then the rest of it's gonna go in this dish and I've got a rubber spatula , so I'm just gonna make sure that I don't waste any of this sauce .
Right Last bit of sauce from the pan is gonna go over the top of that .
We'll have a little bit in there as well .
Why not ?
And again rub a spa around the pan to make sure we don't waste too much .
That's quite a lot of sauce , but I do like it like that .
So if this was just a kind of side to have on the side of some other meal , I might just leave it like that , and we might serve it just as pasta in a cheese sauce .
But this can be the centrepiece of a kind of tea time meal , so this could be served with a salad or just with some steamed vegetables or something like that .
So this could be the centrepiece of a meal , but it's a bit boring like that .
So what I'm gonna do with this dish is .
I'm gonna top it with some more cheese , some little curls of bacon and then that will be baked in the oven to crisp up the top and to cook the bacon .
But we need to get this homemade version to the table and give it a taste .
So exactly as before , just some nice little homegrown cherry tomatoes and a few snips of infinite basil .
So there we go .
And as before , just a few of my handpicked dried herb flowers tasting time , I'm just gonna try a bit of the pasta with the sauce on its own first immediately .
The most striking difference is the creaminess and smoothness of the sauce that all in one packet mix .
The sauce was just a bit gritty and grainy , and the Kraft box Mac and cheese .
There wasn't very much sauce , so that's one of the differences is when you make it yourself , you can have as much sauce as you want .
The cheese is not overwhelming in this .
You could put more cheese or stronger cheese in that sauce , and it would be nice .
Maybe some pecorino or something like that .
OK , I'm gonna try , try a bit with my herb flowers .
Now those really do work .
They're really good .
And just together with the tomato and basil and the herb flowers .
One thing that I am surprised about is that the the chicken schmaltz is not a particularly prominent flavour note .
So I'm just gonna see if I can taste that .
It's subtle , but when you go looking for it , it is there .
It's like a background richness so , as I say , macaroni cheese or macaroni and cheese , not a complex dish , and this is not a particularly fancy version of it , but this is more or less how I would make it .
I tend to make it a little bit different every time in comparison to both of those instant box mixes .
It is nicer , absolutely a lot of .
That's because you can have as much sauce as you want , and you can put as much cheese as you want in the sauce .
I actually think those box mixes are not bad products in terms of producing something that is quite palatable as an end result .
But for me , if I got the time , I think I'd always rather make it from scratch .
So that's my version of macaroni cheese .
And as a bonus , my friend Babatunde in Nigeria is gonna have a go at making this himself out in Nigeria .
I think he's gonna localise it a little bit and give it a Nigerian twist .
I have no idea what that means at the moment , so that could well be interesting to watch .
I haven't seen the video yet , so it's gonna be a surprise to me , too .
That video , when it's ready , will be linked in the card in the corner here or in the video description of this video .
I hope you enjoyed watching me cook and eat this .
Thanks for watching , and I hope to see you again soon .