The Cottage Smallholder

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I need my comfort food


Macaroni waiting to jump out of the pack and delight Danny

Macaroni waiting to jump out of the pack and delight Danny

Years ago Seraphina and I used to go to Greece for a few weeks in the summer. Back then it was virtually undiscovered and extremely cheap – particularly on the islands that were furthest away from the mainland.

I loved Greece, in all its glories. I even enjoyed drinking retzina. The one drawback, for me was the food. I’ve never been keen on baked vegetables and sometimes ate meals with unusual and mystery ingredients.

One evening there was much jubilation at our favourite local restaurant. Something had been slaughtered on the island and they were serving it that night. I tried to understand what the meat actually was and when the waitress hissed at me I assumed that we’d be eating snake.

We sat at a little table outside the restaurant and sampled the dish. The meat was strong, chewy and unappetising. It was served with what I assumed was rather sloppy macaroni. We felt it would be very rude to leave this celebration meal so we forced it down.
“If you mix the meat with the macaroni it’s much easier to swallow,” I suggested.
Seraphina’s reaction was to stare in silent amazement.

She waited until I had finished my plate before she alerted me to the fact that the macaroni was in fact, intestines. And the meat was goat, not snake, and a very old one at that.

Now you’d think that the episode would put me off macaroni for life. It didn’t even put me off intestines much. Macaroni cheese is my comfort food, right up there with cold rice pudding and tinned guavas.

Even though Danny is willing to try virtually anything he has always been adamant about macaroni cheese.
“It’s not a proper meal. Even if it was given to me as a snack I wouldn’t want it. Yuk!”
He likes spaghetti and gnocchi (potatoes score here) but the thought of penne has him nervous.
“Never buy penne. Ever. I hate it.”
I’m not even tempted to pick up the 29p packs on offer in Netto.

So tonight finally I’m breaking out into dangerous territory. I’m making macaroni cheese. Not in the oven – pasta bakes agitate D. My old ultra cheesy sauce, with crisped bacon and finely sliced Marmande tomatoes. Of course there will be a few extra ingredients to give it a bit of a pep and a crispy dried breadcrumb topping.

He knows what is on the menu tonight and has snaked into Newmarket for some calming beer.

Wish me luck and if he likes it, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow! He better like it as I’ve nothing else to write about. Another beer, Danny?

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  1. Glad you mentioned macaroni cheese – we’ll have it for dinner Thursday night. We all love it here and I do put tomato and bacon in it. We have home grown tomatoes at the moment and they really make a difference. It’s such a tasty and economical meal.

  2. I bet the Waitrose penne didn’t cost 29p!

  3. Joanne, I’m with you on that excellent comment that you made,so true,it makes an adult that has true values,appreciates life,people and respect.

  4. Joanne, I’m with you on that excellent comment that you made,so true,it makes an adult that has true values,appreciates life,people and respect.

  5. My mum made fantastic macaroni cheese which always featured (as a minimum) additional ham or bacon cubes, tomatoes, peas, pepper and onion precooked and then added to the macaroni before the cheese sauce went in. If it was to be a bit more substantial supper, ham/bacon was usually left out and strips of belly pork cooked separately and served alongside. Still one of my favourite suppers but sadly mine is never quite as delicious as hers was.

  6. And….. the suspense is killing me……

  7. My hubby likes it. But only if it has bacon in it 🙂 And preferably tomatoes (when in season).

  8. I/we love macaroni cheese in our house. I add cooked cauliflower and top with crispy fried pancetta cubes. De-lish…

  9. Good luck Fiona! My husband is exactly the same – what is it about men and macaroni cheese? Like you I love it, but I only ever have it when Richard is away.

  10. We had a really bad macaroni cheese one year the first night of a camp in Latvia. The cooks did not get on very well and I suspect they all had a go at adding some salt to the meal, it was just so disgustingly salty that it was difficult to get even a mouthful down. I think that was the first time I let my kids off from eating much and let them leave some. They were taught never to refuse what is put in front of you because it is probably the best they have to put before you.

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