I have a strange relationship with macaroni cheese. It evokes very fond memories of my big sister and I being left ‘home alone’ whilst ‘the Runtles’ went out. Usually on a Saturday evening. Usually for something to eat.
Consequently, we had to make our own tea, and, as a treat, were allowed to open a tin.
*leaves slight pause for the excitement to die down*
So, aside from Tomato Soup, which was an obvious favourite but really had to be left for ‘poorly days’, there was a whole section on the ‘tinned food shelf in the cupboard’ dedicated to Saturday tea food, our favourites of which were tinned Ravioli, tinned Spaghetti Bolognese and tinned Macaroni.
Invariably I plumped for the tinned Macaroni Cheese and would warm it up in the pan, plop it into a bowl, add a spoonful of Branston Pickle, put the bowl and a drink on a tray, and carry it, with an inner glee, into the lounge.
You see not only were we allowed food from a tin, we were also, as a special treat and as long as we kept the food on a tray, allowed to eat our tea in the lounge. In front of the television.
*another pause to reflect on the absolute giddiness I still feel*
Now I know to many this is now de rigueur. Indeed it may be said that sitting around the table is now the treat. But then, as now, I hold very dear, time spent sitting round the table, with all it’s little rituals. A table tells a story that unfolds through time, both physically and emotionally.
Anyway. This is where the story takes an unexpected turn. You see, although the build up was fabulous, the actual eating of said Macaroni Cheese was always a disappointment. It got very boring, very quickly. There was just not enough going on to entertain my palette, and inevitably, the slight taste of wallpaper paste would always come to the fore, leaving me dissatisfied and slightly irritated that I had, yet again, plumped for the tin of bland. To be fair, on reflection they were all pretty disgusting.
As a consequence of this I have never had Macaroni Cheese as one of my ‘go to’ recipes, although I know for many, it is a comfort food extraordinaire. I don’t think this position for me will ever change, but I have always wanted to rectify my slight apathy at making it. Having made a few unconvincing attempts, I decided to give Nigella’s recipe a go.
I know what you’re thinking, why did I not try that recipe immediately? And I’d like to give you an answer, I really would. But unfortunately I’m not sure why I never tried it before. Tell you what though, it’s absolutely delicious and most definitely my ‘go to’ macaroni cheese from now on.
So, down to business. You cook 250g of macaroni. Meanwhile put 250g of evaporated milk, 250g of grated cheese and 2 eggs into a bowl. Mix. Add the cooked macaroni. Grate some nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste.
Put into a dish and place in the oven, gas mark 7 for approximately 15 minutes. To be honest it took more like 30 minutes in my oven, but then my oven has a mind of it’s own and is, as we all know, quite temperamental.
The most important thing to remember here is that the macaroni cheese should be spread out over quite a large surface area. Think width, not depth.
We ate it with steamed broccoli, but it would be delicious on it’s own or as part of a big dinner experience. I believe our friends across the pond eat it as a complement to ham, others put it together with salad. Whichever way you decide to eat this macaroni cheese, one thing is for certain, you will definitely be making it again.