Wow isn’t January going so s-l-o-w-l-y? I swear I can feel the time just crawling by! I my only University exam of the year on Friday (catalytic reaction engineering -_-) which probably didn’t help much, maybe things will now go whizzing all the way to sunshine, long days and barbecues.
It was quite strange going back to University after I’ve been working on my placement for 6 months. For a start I forgot how much you walk around as a student. Now days i’m at my desk most of the time so my feet were very sore after pounding the streets of Manchester all weekend. It also reminded me of all the burden of University exams which creep in and rule your life for 6 weeks every year- that’s one thing I can safely say I am not missing about University! However even though I’m living at my family home every time I go back to Manchester I still get that feeling that I’m returning to a home of sorts, somewhere that I have become part of and that has certainly influenced me. It’s an amazing city especially for music lovers and as a southerner who had barely been North of London before the age of 19 I am happy to admit that people really are friendlier up North :).
ANYWAY In dire need of some winter cheer I cooked up this very bright and happy sweet potato bake this week end (kinda looks like a sun no?) I think it has actually improved my mood mainly because it includes my favourite cheese sauce.
Ever since I learnt to make a cheese sauce I’ve been smothering everything in it. This time I’ve chosen a load of veggies to subject to the molten layer of cheesiness. I love this recipe because it’s very easy and full of goodness, it’s great for if you have to serve a big group of people but want minimum fuss and it’s meat free so everyone should be happy. There is a lovely layer of filling butter beans on the bottom topped with some fresh spinach and sauteed leeks in a rich cheesy sauce and to top it all off a fluffy layer of sweet potato and cracked black pepper. SO yum SO healthy…so can it be summer now?
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 3 leeks
- 200g spinach
- 250g tinned cooked butter beans
- 100g strong cheddar cheese, grated
- 450 ml milk
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C
- 1. Roughly chop the leeks and add to a pan with the vegetable oil on a medium heat. Cook for around 5-8 minutes or until just soft.
- 2. Cook the sweet potatoes whole in a bowl in the microwave for 7 minutes or alternatively peel dice, and steam for 10 minutes. Scoop out the soft potato and mash with a fork.
- 3. For the cheese sauce, add the flour and butter to a pan on a low heat and whisk until the mixture is even and caramel coloured (2 minutes)
- 4. Now gradually add the milk continuing to whisk. It is important to keep and eye on the sauce- if it thickens suddenly remove from the heat and add more milk.
- 5.After all the milk is incorporated add the grated cheese and mustard and whisk until smooth.
- 6.Now to assemble! Pour the butter beans into the bottom of an oven proof dish. Add the spinach on top and next the leeks. Pour over the cheesy sauce and top with your bright orange mash.
- 7. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes or until warmed through.