Friday, 5 October 2012

Family Food - Return of the Mac (aroni Cheese)

Altogether now:

"Retuuuuurn of the Mac, Retuuuurn of the Mac, Retuuuurn of the Mac, Blah blah blah bl-blah blee blaaaah."

So sang the 90s pop dude Mark Morrison, winning him a number 1 spot in the UK charts for a year and a day. (Factoid - he was painfully denied this accolade in the US, when scrawny street urchins Hanson launched a worldwide auditory assault with their catchy preschooler-appealing ditty "MmmmmmmBop" or something.)

I know I keep harping on about it being Baltic - and I should face facts and remember I live in sunny Scotland (it IS sunny today - see below for indisputable evidence).

Tampa - smug
Tampa - smug
Tampa - smug
Out the window - blue! (With layers of grey of course.)
As I was harping on, it IS cold, and as I am most comfortable in my comfort zone of preparing and consuming comfort food - here it is. Return of the Mac (aroni cheese).


  • 25g unsalted butter
  • Heaped tablespoon of plain flour
  • 3/4 pint of full fat milk (semi-skimmed is fine, just not as nutritious for babies)
  • 2 large handfuls grated cheddar - or adjust to taste
  • 250g dried macaroni pasta
  • Pinch of nutmeg or black pepper if you like that kind of thing
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  1. Cook pasta on the hob according to packet instructions. Mine was 8 minutes boiling with a little olive oil. Drain, then empty into oven dish roughly 30cm x 20cm.
  2. Easy, no lumps, white sauce see steps 3 to 7 (I use a plastic measuring jug)
  3. Melt butter in jug - 15 seconds on high power
  4. Stir in flour and beat a bit - should be a thick rue. Looking like a lump of moist plasticine (nice!) (more butter or flour until its right)
  5. Put back in micro for 15 secs on high
  6. Very slowly add your milk, stirring a few drops at a time to start with. That's the key to smooth sauce. Also if the milk is warm, it really helps.
  7. When all the milk is in, heat it 30 seconds on full power, stir/beat any lumps; then 1 minute on full, stir again; then another minute on full - it should be nice and thick. Whisk if its lumpy!
  8. Stir in cheese, until melted and seasoning if required.
  9. Pour over pasta in dish, sprinkle over remaining cheese.
  10. Cook in oven on a baking tray for 15-20 minutes, til cheese is golden.
Optional variations - broccoli and cauliflower florets cooked with pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes and ripped basil leaves stirred in with cheese sauce, maybe you could stir in cooked white fish chunks to tuna? I don't know! Good luck!

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