The Best Mac ‘n Cheese

It’s difficult  to give you a recipe for this simply because I have no idea really of the quantities I use for anything in it, it has just become something I do completely by sight. I don’t really think it matters if you don’t want to put in the bacon, the mushrooms or the spring onions, and really the quantities are not that big in proportion to the rest of the dish – after all, this is mac n cheese, not bacon, mushroom & onion pasta. Plain macaroni cheese is still completely brilliant and well loved in this household. Alternatively simply exclude the bacon for a vegetarian dinner. I’d like to tell you this serves four, but to be completely truthful with you, it serves two of us with leftovers. And eating macaroni cheese cold the next day, is a priviledge that is mine alone in the Greedy household. If you wanted uber mac ‘n cheese you could easily top this dish with seasoned breadcrumbs before putting in the oven.

macncheese

  • 500g macaroni
  • 1 quantity of white sauce
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • 50g parmesan grated
  • 100g streaky bacon, chopped into inch pieces or cubed pancetta
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, white only, chopped into 1/2 inch rounds
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to Gas 6. Firstly, cook the pasta in a very large saucepan as per packet instructions, drain and leave covered, to one side. In a shallow pan, fry your bacon pieces, and when it starts to brown, add your sliced mushrooms and spring onions together – the fat in the bacon should ensure you don’t need to add extra fat to fry it off but you could add a teaspoon of butter if it is very dry, if you’ve bought back bacon for instance. Then, make your white sauce and when cooked, turn off the heat and  stir in three quarters of your grated cheese. Combine the pasta, cheese and bacon, mushroom and spring onion mixture in the pan you have cooked the pasta in and then pour into an ovenproof dish Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes until piping hot the all way through, and brown on top. I think I’m supposed to suggest you serve this with salad or veg, but we never do. Scoff.

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Special Breakfast Pancakes

Ok, so its not dinner. I would, of course, eat this for dinner though.

For some people, this a special breakfast would not make. For some people like morning people, supermums, domestic gods and goddesses alike, pancakes on a weekday morning must be a breeze, a mere flick of the whisk. In this household however, breakfast is a sonambulist’s territory. Toast is made rubbing sleep out of eyes, coffee is perculated as we stumble around and the radio provides the only conversation of any meaning. Greedy boy, the only one even half awake, is not in the mood for much – and toast is not much of a culinary challenge. Besides, before long  it will be one he will take on for himself.

Back to the pancakes. They are a simple enough recipe. And they are not special in themselves (Although throw in a couple of blueberries to the batter and they might be, if blueberries float your boat). What makes them special in my view are: The best quality bacon, streaky and good quality canadian maple syrup. And in this house, the percieved effort for a special person’s birthday, makes them special.

pancakes

First consume your caffeine beverage of choice, and turn on the radio.

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scant tsp caster sugar
  • 300ml buttermilk (or just go ahead with ordinary milk)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • butter and vegetable oil for frying

Now, I just put all the ingredients except the melted butter in my blender goblet and whizzed to a batter, but if you don’t have a blender (or it isn’t 6am) you can simply put the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre of it. Mix the egg and the milk in a jug and slowly, slowly pour into the well, stirring the flour in gradually. Mix in your melted butter. If adding fruit (and I would only really add berries, cut to garden pea size) do it now.

Put your bacon on.

Heat a dot of butter and a teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick pan. Drop a heaped tablespoon of batter into the pan, wait until it settles into a pancake and then put another tablespoon in, and then another, until you are cooking up to three pancakes in a batch. Cook on a low to medium heat for about 3 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble on top. At this point you can check to see whether the pancake has browned underneath by lifting up the side a bit. If browned, flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the otherside. Slooooowwwwwly. Or you will get a burnt outside and an uncooked middle. And that doesn’t exactly say ‘Happy Birthday!’

I would keep the cooked ones under a clean tea towel on a warmed plate while you cook as many pancakes as you like. Serve with the bacon and a generous side of maple syrup.