Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Around 2 weeks back I was invited to an exclusive Lactofree masterclass with Michelin starred chef, Tom Aikens. I had a crazy night the day before and waking up for a breakfast masterclass was a bit of a feat, and for a second (just a second) I wished I didn't have to go, but just snuggle in bed. I'm glad that thought didn't last long because I really did have a fab time. I reached just before the session started and so missed out on the lavish breakfast spread a la Lactofree. So with a cup of coffee in hand i joined the crew in the kitchen. Tom Aikens is quite a charming and patient chef. He talked about using Lactofree products in cooking and baking and how you get the delicious taste of real dairy, but without the lactose and since its made from cow's milk, you still get all its nutritional benefits too.
First up was Lacto(se)free raspberry, poppy seed and white chocolate muffins which Tom prepared right in front of us, and we even got to take home a few for tea. He then took us through a cooking demo of mushroom ragout on toast which we were then asked to recreate at our cooking stations. We went about creating our brunch dish with much enthusiasm and devoured into it with all the other bloggers. It was also the first time i cooked with and tasted sorrel leaves and chervil and it did make a whole lot of difference to the final dish. I'm sure i can use spinach and some other herb instead.
From the Lactofree samples in the goody bag, I ended up making a broc and cauliflower cheese bake and a chocolate-coffee panna cotta. My husband is lactose intolerant (self proclaimed) and he was happy he could have his coffee and tea with milk for a few days :)
Recipe adapted from here (serves 4 to 5)
Broccoli florets- 3 cups
Cauliflower florets- 3 cups
Butter- 2 tbsp (I used Lactofree spreadable butter)
Plain flour- 1/4 cup
Spicy brown mustard- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Ground nutmeg- a generous pinch
Paprika- 1/2 tsp
Pepper- to taste
Salt- to taste
Milk- 2 cups (I used Lactofree semi-skimmed milk)
Cheese- 1 cup (I used Lactofree cheese) + enough to sprinkle on top
Boil the broccoli and cauliflower in enough water for about 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure you dont cook it completely. It should still be crispy.
Drain in a colander and transfer to a large baking dish (9x 13 inch is what i used)
In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux and add in the mustard, nutmeg, paprika, pepper and salt and continue to whisk till smooth.
Gradually add the milk and bring to a boil, while continuously whisking and making sure it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once the milk mix had thickened a bit, stir in the cheese until it has melted.
Pour the mix over the vegetables and bake in an oven preheated at 200C for about 30 minutes.
Take the baking dish out of the oven, change the setting to broiler/grill, sprinkle some cheese on top and place under the broiler for another 7 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Serve with garlic bread
Notes: I have tried this with a Mexican cheese blend and it was fabulous
Of course, you can add other vegetables like carrots, spinach, leek etc.
The paprika gives it a punch, but feel free to omit if you dont want it spicy.
With thanks to Lactofree for inviting me to the event and for the samples, and Tom Aikens for the fabulous masterclass.