There’s nothing quite like a lazy Sunday brunch. The husband and I *ahem* overindulged on Saturday so Sunday was all about feeding our craving for comfort food and watching comfort TV: it took two episodes of The Darling Buds of May and a bit of a Lovejoy before I could even muster up the energy to put a wash on.
Luckily I had some excess béchamel in the freezer, making this a cinch to make even with a bit of a head.
For the béchamel (make a batch and keep in the freezer for lasagne, croque madames, cannelloni, macaroni cheese or mousakka)
A heaped tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100g grated cheese (I usually use cheddar but any hard cheese will work)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
500ml milk (I use semi-skimmed)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat then stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually add the milk, a splash at a time, and stir constantly until you’ve poured in all the milk. Throw in the bay leaf and nutmeg, grind over a twist of pepper and add the cheese. Stir constantly in a figure of eight, never letting the sauce boil until it thickens – this could take up to 10 minutes. If it still seems a little too runny, take off the heat and beat in an egg. Even it’s lovely and thick, an egg will add some scrumptious richness.
For the croque:
4 slices brown bread (well, brown is my preference anyway)
2 slices smoked ham
100g grated emmenthal cheese
Approx 100ml béchamel
A sprinkle of chopped chives if you have some to hand
Toast the bread, then spread all four slices with béchamel on one side. Make two ham sandwiches with your yummy béchamel-laden bread, then spoon the rest of the béchamel over the top of each sandwich. Sprinkle with cheese, then pop under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and browned.
Meanwhile, poach two eggs – I just crack the eggs straight into a saucepan of gently boiling water and fish them out with a slotted spoon after exactly two minutes. Then pat dry on a piece of kitchen towel, season, and pop on top of your bubbling crisp croque. Voila!
I can’t promise this will cure a hangover, but it will certainly help!