Posts Tagged ‘Macaroni Cheese’

One of the highlights of having Mum & Dad stay with us over the Christmas period was just doing the normal things together, like having a meal together. It’s the small things I miss about not living closer. The ability to go to your parent’s for Sunday dinner or have them over for a Saturday night takeaway is something that would be easy to take for granted but as we live many miles (and many $$$) apart it is something I will never take for granted.

I really enjoyed cooking for Mum & Dad while they were with us and as they were both laid up with injuries that was lucky!!

One chilly day Justine, Jon & Easton came to join us for lunch and so I needed to make something warming, meat free and enjoyable for adults and children alike. Macaroni Cheese seemed to tick all those boxes and so I turned to trusty reliable Jamie for a tasty recipe. I say this entry is ‘One for Dad’ as he seemed to particularly enjoy it and as he is at home now recuperating from knee surgery maybe Mum can make it for him…from me of course! Although I wish I could – another bummer about living so far away!

Another bonus of this dish is that it was a great way to get tomatoes into Izzy – no matter how we try she will not eat them in their natural form. Takes after her Uncle Dougie!!!

Tomato Macaroni Cheese (courtesy of Jamie Oliver – Jamie’s Dinners)


340g macaroni

200g bread, preferably stale, for making breadcrumbs

800g super ripe tomatoes

1 clove of garlic, peeled

2 large handfuls of fresh basil

55g sun dried tomatoes, chopped

2 anchovies

3 handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

565ml single cream

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 a nutmeg, grated

400g cows milk mozzarella, broken up

a handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C. Get a pan of salted boiling water going and cook your macaroni according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, break your bread up, place it in the food processor and whizz up to form breadcrumbs. Set aside. Wash your tomatoes and place them in the food processor with the garlic, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies and a good pinch of salt & pepper. Whizz up for 30 seconds. Then add 2 handfuls of the Parmesan, the cream, vinegar and grated nutmeg. Whizz until smooth and season carefully to taste so it’s really yummy!

By this time your macaroni will probably be cooked, so drain it in a colander, saving some of the cooking water. Place the pasta back into the pan and pour over every last bit of the cheesy sauce. You want it to be quite loose because you’ll be surprised how quickly the sauce will disappear inside the macaroni and will look dry. So add a few spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water. Now you need to get yourself a baking dish about 8-10 cm / 3 or 4 inches deep – this could be an earthenware dish or even a shallow ovenproof pan. Pour the pasta straight into your baking dish and break the mozzarella into little pieces over the top. Mix the last handful of Parmesan with the thyme leaves and breadcrumbs and sprinkle evenly over the top of the dish. Drizzle generously with good extra virgin olive oil – this will give you a lovely crunchy topping.

Place in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes until bubbly and crispy and golden on top. Serve straight away, sprinkled with a little extra Parmesan. Best eaten with a nice salad – and you’ll love it.

Now I didn’t take any pics of this meal but I can share a pic of Nana & Poppa’s visit and also one of Easton modelling the apron and chef’s hat Mum made for him – love it!

My future son in law!!

Lastly, we also swung by Primrose Bakery and picked up a selection of cupcakes – they were better second time around. I love the Lime & Coconut and I will definitely be whipping up a batch in the not too distant future. As the Primrose Bakery cookbook now adorns my bookshelf I love tasting how it is supposed to taste – sort of like a try before you buy/ bake!

Primrose Bakery Cupcakes

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Izzy & Easton :-)

Izzy & Easton 🙂

Well, tonight I have been looking after Izzy and the gorgeous Easton! So its Saturday night and a little chilly for summer so something warm and comforting is in order. After flicking through Tana Ramsay’s ‘Family Kitchen’ I decided on Macaroni Cheese with tomato and crispy bacon. Not the most nutritious but hey it’s Saturday and nothing makes Izzy happier than cheese, meat & pasta!

We also found the last couple of peas from the garden and Izzy delighted in taking them out of the pods and eating them fresh!

Peas from Daddy's garden - yummy!

Peas from Daddy's garden - yummy!

Izzy started off helping me and then took to weighing everything on the scales! I only had to turn my back for a moment and she was sneaking cheese off the bench. She gave herself away when she stated with such enthusiasm ‘DELICIOUS!’

Only one slip up in the preparation and that was not turning the grill on full and so only grilling half at a time – annoying!

So, the verdict? Well I thought it was pretty tasty and it seemed to get the thumbs up from Izzy & Easton too. There was 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper in the recipe but in the future I would probably halve that when making for young un’s. It had a nice kick but probably just slightly too much for Izzy who complained of a sore tongue – oops!. Easton was fine – must be his Jamaican blood!

The only other thing I would change is to add cooked diced bacon to the mixture rather than laying the streaky bacon on top – neither of the kids were fussed on this.

The cheeky cheese thief!

The cheeky cheese thief!

Macaroni cheese with tomato and crispy bacon (courtesy of Tana Ramsay ‘Family Kitchen’)


25g butter

25g flour

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

285ml whole milk

300g macaroni

400g tin chopped tomatoes, drained

250g grated medium cheddar

200g unsmoked streaky bacon, cut into strips

1. Preheat grill to hot.

2. Put  a pan of water onto boil.

3. Start making a basic white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour. Stir it around and let it form a paste. As the paste starts to look as if it’s drying (but has not yet browned), add the cayenne pepper and stir for another minute. Gradually add the milk while beating with a small whisk all the time. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. The sauce should easily coat the back of a wooden spoon.

4. When the pasta water has come to the boil add the macaroni and cook for about 2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet. Drain in a sieve and put to one side until needed,

5. When your white sauce has simmered for a couple of minutes, add the drained tomatoes. Remove the sauce from the heat and and put to one side for about a minute before adding 150g of the grated cheddar. Finally add the drained macaroni and mix together.

6. Pour the macaroni mixture into the ovenproof dish and cover with the pieces of bacon. Finally sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

7. Place under the grill for about 10 minutes until the bacon has turned crispy and slightly burnt at the edges.

8. Serve with a crisp green salad (I opted for green peas as I have not managed to convince Izzy on salad yet!)

Serves – 4 children


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