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macaroni cheese

My Macaroni and Cheese recipe calls for cooked pasta, doused in cheese sauce, topped with a mix of fried pancetta cubes, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley, then baked for twenty minutes. On removal top with a little sprinkling of parsley and grated lemon zest.

Not a dish I’d make that often, the diet ain’t that great, but lapping up a tasty rich dish once in a while can’t hurt (can it?). It’s all part of the challenge put out some time ago by The Cheese Lover to find the ultimate Macaroni and Cheese recipe. A local dimension earns extra points but sadly a really local cheese was next to impossible to find; the wine though was local…

A new-to-me vineyard and wine – Oakengrove Vineyard Dry White 2006. It’s an Oxfordshire based winery although the basic website is short on specifics mentioning that they are “a small family run vineyard nestled in the beautiful Chiltern Hills of South Oxfordshire”.

Only this one wine is available at present (local Waitrose stores stock it) although plantings of Pinot Noir are coming on stream for a rosé wine to be released in the summer of 2010.



White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Oakengrove Vineyard Dry White, 2006, Oxfordshire, England.

Stockist: Local Waitrose stores Price: £8.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]

Fresh and crisp are the initial impressions; the peachy-honeyed edge comes though first followed by a more apple and pear like flavour. Very ‘English’ if you follow. A little expensive for what it is (but then are not all English wines a touch pricey?). Dry with a light, stony texture. Lemons with a hint of honeysuckle. A blend of Bacchus, Madeleine Angevine, Reichensteiner and Seyval Blanc coming in with a lowish alcohol level of 11.5%.

And with the macaroni cheese? Selected for its high acidity (you get high acidity in wine from cool climate regions; how could England be anything else but cool!) to cut through the richness of the cream and cheese the Oakengrove worked beautifully. Not ‘complimentary’; more a delicious palate cleanser leaving you wanting more of both the wine and the food. The lemon edge to the wine linking with the lemon zest topping to the macaroni.

Scribblings Rating – 86/100 [3.25 out of 5]

Also opened for a comparison and contrasting flavour combination was a Spanish red -


Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Vega Escal, 2005, Priorat, Spain

Price: £9.99 available from Waitrose [More on Adegga / Snooth]I adore the texture of this thumping great red; all dusty gravel spread with a deep blackfruits and vanilla flavour profile. There is an overlay of melted dark chocolate wrapped up in a red berry dipped silken cloak. It just so happens to be made with my favourite red grape combination – Carignan (60%), Grenache (30%) and Syrah (10%). Robustly structured. Alcohol 14.5%.

Scribblings Rating – 92/100 [4 out of 5]

For a highly drinkable, highly enjoyed wine the red wins. It wasn’t however my favourite match with the food. The red turned softer and hugely drinkable when combined with the food; the white however was the palate cleanser leaving the mouth crying out for replenishment.

Cheese Sauce:


  • 200g cheddar or similar cheese (a mix of Tickler Extra Mature Cheddar from Devon and Doux de Montagne from the Auvergne was used here)

  • 25g butter

  • 2 tablespoons plain flour

  • 300ml milk

  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard


Mix the milk with the flour until throughly blended. Bring to a gentle boil with the butter. Heat until the butter has melted. As it begins to thicken stir to combine and remove lumps. Add the mustard. Add the cream and the (crumbled) cheese and stir until melted and combined.

Mix in the cooked pasta (250g) and pour into an oven proof dish. Top with the pancetta/breadcrumb mix. Bake at 180 for about ten to fifteen minutes until bubbling. Remove from oven and top with grated lemon zest and more chopped parsley.

oakengrove dry white
vega escal

2 Comments »

  1. Pia says:

    Very ‘English’ if you follow.
    I don’t follow because sadly I do not know much about English wines but after reading your blog I have to admit I’m very interested.
    I do like the Spanish Vega Escal. And certainly love your mac and cheese picture. Nice post. I will follow.

  2. wow the macaroni look fantastic :)
    gotta try!

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