Back on Track? Macaroni Cheese from Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat
The cooking caper, and more particularly attempting to cook a recipe from every one of my cook books, seems to be back on track with my enforced time at home. The bung knee has really limited my ability to get out and about, especially since my Physiotherapist has demanded that I only walk for 15 minutes at a time. The joy in this is that I’m spending less money (though my boyfriend disagrees) and spending more time at home cooking and resting.
Recently, Zoe from Progressive Dinner Party tweeted about Eat Your Books, a nifty service that lists recipes within cookbooks and sticks them online so you can search your recipes. Ok, so think about this: it lists the recipes from your cookbooks online so you can search them. Just the week before I saw Zoe’s tweet I’d been thinking that this very concept would be so useful. At work when trying to figure out what’s for dinner, knowing that you have specific ingredients to use up, or like me in this instance, looking for a recipe for a specific dish and wanting to find the variations. This service quickly opened up my cookbooks for me in a way that was not possible before, so I quickly laid out my US$50 life membership. Now a caveat: not all the Aussie books are online, but of my approximately 100 cookbooks, 72 of them are. Enough to make it very worth my while.
Macaroni Cheese. You know I’d never eaten it prior to this particular day? Probably more to do with the fact that my parents, coming from the Middle East, had never encountered it in this form [also same with brussel sprouts, I’ve only ever had them as an adult and LOVE them], rather the closest I’d ever got to it is the pastitsio/pasticcio that is common in the Mediterranean and rather than being cheesy [I don’t think there is any cheese at all in the versions I’ve eaten as a child], is much heartier with the addition of meat.
So when I tweeted about the lack of macaroni cheese in my life I got some hilarious responses, from the haters to the lovers, to the gourmands and those that believe in the power of the packet Mac’n’cheese, and everything in between. I also scored some recipes, but thought for my first time, I should find the simplest recipe I could and start from there. I hit Eat Your Books and was rewarded with 3 recipes: one by Jamie Oliver with 4 kinds of cheese, one by Maggie Beer with pumpkin, verjuice and goat’s cheese, and Nigella’s super simple recipe, which is what I chose for my introduction.
I’m not going to spell out the recipe as it’s just a basic bechamel, with a touch of cayenne, and a pile of cheese, mixed through the macaroni, and topped with breadcrumbs and more cheese, then baked or grilled till the top is brown. Très simple.
What did I think? Oh my god, yum! And so decadent in it’s simplicity. Oh my god yum. Uugghh, tummyache….