Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Macaroni and Cheese Nostalgia

One of my earliest memories is standing on tip-toes, and being able to see over the kitchen table. Ellie at Kitchen Wench has asked for the recipe and the memory of a food that invokes a feeling of nostalgia, so you get my kitchen table and macaroni cheese.
I'm Australian like Ellie, but I was born in Canada. We moved to Australia when I was 7 or 8, and the table came with us. Nowadays it lives in my aunts beach house with all the other family furniture cast-offs, and I'm on the other side of the country. I think macaroni cheese is one of the few remnants of my North American childhood. It was the first thing I thought of when somebody explained the concept of comfort food. Back then it probably came in a blue box, and was served with carrot sticks. These days I make it from scratch, with lots of healthy vegetables and a recipe from a well-worn Women's Weekly recipe book. I only use the recipe book as moral support while I make the white sauce - for some reason it hasn't turned out well for me since we came to Canberra. And I don't really measure any of it.
Macaroni Cheese with Veggies
Cook the macaroni. While it's cooking, chop up half a red capsicum, a small red onion, a yellow UFO squash and any other random vegetables. The aim is a variety of colours. Make a basic white sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan, then adding a couple of tablespoons of flour and a couple of teaspoons of mustard powder. Don't let it brown. Slowly add around a cup and a half of milk (I use skim), checking to make sure it's thoroughly mixed and no lumps are forming. Stir over a low heat until it thickens slightly. Add some grated cheese, the sharper the better, then remove from the heat. Throw the macaroni, sauce, vegetables and a cup or so of frozen peas into a casserole dish. Heat in the oven until it's a bit brown and bubbly on top. Adding breadcrumbs, extra cheese or crumbled crackers to the top is strictly optional.
Enjoy with carrot sticks, or left over homemade pizza.


Ellie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your memory and this recipe for this event :) I'm glad that you've still got the table here, they might seem like tiny memories, but it's nice to have little tokens from your past like that!

Deborah Dowd said...

Macaroni is nostalgic for me too. While my mom makes great macaroni and cheese, once in awhile she made macaroni cooked and drained with half and half, salt , pepper and butter- the epitome of comfort food for me!