I think everyone has a guilty pleasure when it comes to TV. Mine, I’m afraid to say, is ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’. Whenever I have a moment to spare (or don’t, to be honest) I find myself engrossed in the activities of Kris, Bruce, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie and Scott. It’s utterly addictive, and while I’m completely aware that these people don’t deserve to be treated like royalty or receive so much press attention, I can’t help but to Keep Up, discussing their latest antics with my friends on a regular basis and laughing at their trivial escapades.
So, it wasn’t particularly surprising when I was half-jokingly gifted with Kris Jenner’s cookbook on my birthday. I was sceptical. Does Kris really know how to cook? Does she not have an army of cooks catering her every meal? Doesn’t she just click her fingers and have fresh salad delivered to her Calabasas mansion? Surely this book deal is just another rather talentless Kardashian ‘business’ venture, adding to the family’s already enormous fortune. I think it’s fair to say that the quality and authenticity of my cookbook collection, graced by the likes of Nigella, Nigel Slater and Mary Berry has deteriorated slightly with the addition of “In the Kitchen with Kris: A kollection of Kardashian-Jenner family favorites” (sic).
On the front cover, a perfectly preened Kris, wearing a white jumper, flashes her Hollywood smile as she slices a pepper. Umm, Kris, are you really going to wear a designer white jumper to cook a meal? The introduction explains Kris’ love of cooking which started at a cookery school she doesn’t remember the name of, and her obsession with Hermès china. So far, it’s just what you’d expect. Intrigued to see some of the recipes, I soldiered on. The book’s first two recipes are ‘Cream of Wheat’ (ingredients: 1 box of Cream of Wheat, sugar, milk) and ‘Clarified Butter’ (ingredients: butter). So Kris is helpfully teaching us to make a bowl of cereal and how to melt down butter. How did we manage to make these things before we had the Kardashian matriarch guiding us?!
Skimming the pages, some of the other recipes appear equally hilarious. Penne with vodka sauce sounds fairly questionable. Aunty Dorothy’s string beans, how to make garlic bread and how to make nachos all sound pretty basic. There’s also some amusing name dropping, including “A few years ago, I was at Jennifer Lopez’s house” and “This is the first dish I think of when I think of Nicole Brown Simpson”. However, I was relieved to find that amongst some of the dubious content there are actually some delicious sounding recipes. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Roast Chicken with Truffle Butter, Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad and Cranberry Orange Relish with Maple Syrup and Grand Marnier are all dishes I’m going to try out – and I’m never averse to testing out a new brownie recipe. While ‘In the Kitchen With Kris’ is as much fun to laugh at as it is to cook from, you have to give her some credit for trying, and managing to pull together 70 recipes from a relatively cooking-free household.
One dish that really caught my eye was Kim’s Super Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese. Mac ’n’ cheese is my all time favourite comfort food, and while there are recipes in Kris’ book like pies and risottos that I would turn to chefs like Jamie for, I’m not going to dispute the fact that Americans really do know how to make the best macaroni. So on a rainy Sunday, I set about making a Kardashian mac ’n’ cheese, and I have to admit it was the best I have ever tasted. It was creamy, gloriously cheesy and the breadcrumb topping gave it a beautiful crunch. It was basically like a huge warm hug in a bowl, and I really do urge you to try it out.
6 tablespoons butter
1 pound of macaroni
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 an onion, grated
3 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
6 different grated cheeses: I used lots of cheddar, then some goats cheese, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan and brie. You can use however much you want of each depending on which flavours you want to be brought out the most.
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup of Paxo bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly butter a large baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni until al dente. Do not overcook the macaroni, it will soften when baked. Drain.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Whisk in the flour and reduce to low, whisking often, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and make sure the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the grated onion and paprika, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Raise the heat to medium and simmer, whisking often, until the sauce is slightly reduced and the consistency of thick cream, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Mix all of the grated cheese together in a medium bowl. Add three quarters of the cheese mixture to the sauce. Let it stand for 1 minute, then stir until the cheeses melt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the beaten eggs and mix well. Add the macaroni and mix well. Spread in the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cheese mixture.
- Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and stir well, then spread them on top of the dish. Bake in the oven until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, and serve hot.