RSVP Magazine

#EATEASY WITH YVONNE CONNOLLY:Mac’n’Cheese for all the family and reveals the kitchen gadget she simply couldn’t cook without!

Photo: Lili Forberg

Photo: Lili Forberg

As one of Ireland’s premier foodies, Yvonne Connolly shares her top tips and tricks about all things culinary in her monthly RSVP column. This month she’s enjoying fine dining in LA, does a mean Mac’n’Cheese for all the family and reveals the kitchen gadget she simply couldn’t cook without!

I’m writing my column from LA as a very spoiled guest of the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. I’m here with my three children on what feels like a trip of a lifetime. It’s no secret that the food culture in LA is second to none and eating out with friends is high on our list of things to do. In fact one of Santa Monica’s most popular eateries, Cast, is located in our hotel so we don’t have far to go. Another of my favourite on-trend restaurants is Craig’s in West Hollywood for amazing food, atmosphere and, of course, good old-fashioned celeb spotting. Real foodies however need to try République on La Brea Ave. Of course, no trip to LA is complete without an old-school Sunday brunch at the Ivy, which is hands down my children’s favourite restaurant. If visiting LA in the near future, book your restaurants of choice well in advance.

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EATERY OF THE MONTH 

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With perfect timing, top chef Oliver Dunne’s newest venture Beef and Lobster opened on Parliament Street
in Dublin, just before I went on holidays! Despite the fact it was opening week, the relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and flawless food made it feel like the restaurant has been around forever. Hopefully it will be – I’m hooked!

TAKE IT TO THE MEX

I recently shot some TV commercials for Old El Paso – a one-stop shop brand for all Mexican ingredients – and I had a lot of fun with my co-stars Ryan and Zoe on the day. I’m delighted to be an ambassador for a product that is always in stock in our house (my 17-year-old son makes himself his signature quesadilla almost every day!). Check out their latest product, Stand ‘N’ Stuff, and their new mini tortilla cases which are perfect for little hands!

MAGIC MAC’N’CHEESE

The ultimate American comfort food is one of my daughter Ali’s favourite things to eat. I make mine with a traditional Mornay sauce which is just a very useful Béchamel (white) sauce with cheese.

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INGREDIENTS

200g macaroni pasta

25g butter

25g flour

500ml full fat milk

2 handfuls of grated white cheddar

1 bay leaf

Pinch salt, pepper and nutmeg

1 tbsp chopped chives (optional)

METHOD

1 Melt butter in a small non-stick saucepan.

2 Add in flour and stir continuously using a wooden spoon over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. You ideally want a roux smooth and blonde in colour. If it is getting too dark, turn the heat down to avoid it burning.

3 Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper to the milk in a saucepan. Gently heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the roux from the heat and add 100ml of milk. Whisk continuously until combined. Return to a low heat and add the rest of the milk in stages. When all the milk is combined add the nutmeg and cook for a further 15 minutes on a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir through 1 handful of cheese.

5 Cook pasta as per pack instructions. Drain and add to the sauce. Place in one large ovenproof serving dish or 2-3 individual dishes.

6 Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and place under a hot grill for 2 minutes or until melted and golden.

7 Sprinkle with chives and serve.

OPTIONAL

As an added extra I often fry 1/2 a chopped shallot and a chopped clove of garlic on a medium pan. I add 4-6 slices of chopped bacon and fry until crispy then stir through the mac’n’cheese for an extra treat.

TURN THE TEMPERATURE UP!

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When I cook on The Seven O’Clock Show, Lucy Kennedy is always intrigued by my gadget collection. One of my favourite products right now is Ikea’s Fantast food thermometer. Unlike most thermometers, food does not have to be removed from the heat source to read. The skewer from this device is inserted before cooking with the digital reader attached by a long wire, beeping to alert you when food has come to the set temperature. You’ll never overcook your food again!

To get in touch with any questions I’m on…

Twitter @ConnollyYvonne | Instagram yvonneconnolly_ 

Facebook YvonneConnolly | Snapchat yvonne-connolly

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