I couldn’t say when I first fell in love with hosting parties. It certainly wasn’t something I grew up around. My Mother’s annual Boxing Day family was a source of great stress, and should have been enough to scare me off throwing my own for a lifetime.
But some time, after I graduated from awkward University gatherings, where I scurried around attempting to be a fantastic hostess to a bunch of drunk students who needed nothing more than a location to arrive at with their cheap BYOB, I found balance. The thin line between making sure your guests have everything they want without constantly offering them snacks and drink refills.
Perhaps more than that I became organised. So here’s my best ( and criminally obvious) tip, try not to need to spend more than 15 minutes in the kitchen whilst your guests are over. Whether it’s having the ingredients weighed and chopped or just reheating something you’ve already made.
These mac and cheese cups are the perfect addition to any holiday hosting. Their seasonal ingredients make these childhood favourites surprisingly sophisticated, and the individual portions lend themselves to easy serving.
Goats Cheese and Cranberry Mac and Cheese Cups Recipe
(Makes 9 regular cupcake sized cups)
152g goats cheese
9 tsp cranberry sauce
50g cheddar, grated
¼ cup of breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 200C, grease and flour 9 cupcakes holes in a tin.
Cook the macaroni until al dente – cooked but still firm, it will be cooking more in the sauce later, I found about 12 minutes suffice.
Melt the butter over a low heat
Stir in the flour, and constantly mixing cook until golden brown (about a minute).
Add the milk a splash at a time, whisking until there are no lumps between each addition.
Once all the milk is incorporated, crumble in the goats cheese and stir through until melted.
Add the macaroni to the sauce and stir until it’s completely coated.
Half fill each tin hole with the macaroni cheese, spoon a tsp of cranberry sauce in the middle of each and then fill to the top with macaroni cheese.
Sprinkle with grated cheddar and breadcrumbs and place tin in the middle of the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top.
Remove from oven and leave to cool until room temperature, then chill in the fridge until cold. The solidifies the sauce and allows the cups to be removed intact from the tray.
Gently run a palette knife around the edge of each cup to loosen them and then lever them out of the cupcake tin.
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