Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sunday 10th of March 2013

Mothering Sunday started beautifully at Distracted Towers.  Sunshine was streaming through the bedroom window as Husband and my gorgeous children brought me breakfast in bed and a lovely potted orchid.  After I'd placed it on the windowsill in our newly decorated bathroom,  I came downstairs for a morning of being brought cups of tea while I lounged, sybaritically, on the sofa. 

For lunch I cooked one of my favourites;  Crôque Monsieur Maison.  I got ahead by making the béchamel yesterday,  so that it would be cold and spreadable when it was needed.  This is not altogether necessary,  but it's how I prefer to do it.  The quantities I give are for four crôques.

30g butter
30g flour
250ml milk
pepper (white for preference)

Make a thick béchamel by melting the butter in a smallish saucepan,  then stirring in the flour to make a roux.  Cook,  stirring constantly for a minute or two until the roux colours only slightly,  then pour in the milk.  Keep stirring (I use a whisk) while the sauce thickens.  Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Trust me on the nutmeg,  it's what makes this taste right.

When you're ready to make the crôques...

8 slices of bread
40g butter,  melted
4 slices of ham
100g gruyère, grated

Brush the bread with the melted butter,  then spread each slice thinly with a little of the béchamel.   Use these to make four ham-and béchamel sandwiches,  then spread the top of each with a rather thicker layer of béchamel.   Sprinkle with the gruyère.

Bake, on a buttered oven tray,  for 10-12 minutes at 200ºc.  Serve cut in half, with a bit of a side salad.  If you fancy a Crôque Madame instead, fry some eggs while the sandwiches are in the oven and top each with a freshly fried, runny-yolked egg to serve.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mummies out there!
Cath xx

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