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Macaroni cheese

Macaroni cheese

In the days when hang-gliding was still in its ‘the current rage’ infancy, I was roped into lugging heavy gliders up hills so that other people could take off. My reward at the end of the day was being allowed to bunny hop off hillocks. A more vivid memory from those days, however, is the camaraderie that followed a day in the sky and the hills – and the communal cook up of a macaroni cheese dish that was quite unrecognisable from the boring bland lumpy affairs my Grandmother made.

There were no secret herbs and spices to this hang-glider version. There was lots of bacon and then tomatoes and beans.  The ‘secret’ was the rich smooth cheese sauce – easy to make whether in hut or tent – and lashings of it, so that the dish was not too dry.

Cheese sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup (450mls) of milk
  • 1 cup grated Tasty or Colby cheese
  • 2 Tbsp white flour
  • S and P
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or margarine, olivani), or enough to grease the pan.

Method:

Put milk in a shaker (or screw top jar, or thermal mug with lid, or zip-lock bag). On top of the milk add a tablespoon of flour and a pinch of salt and shake of pepper.Close lid or bag and shake vigorously. Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan.

Add milk mixture and stir until just starting to bubble. Do not boil. Stir frequently. Add the grated cheese. Stir in. Remove from heat. If sauce is too thick, add more milk, and stir some more. Sauce should be runny, and pour easily.

For a larger amount of sauce, just repeat steps one to three before cooking the lot and increase the amount of cheese proportionately.

Macaroni cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup macaroni elbows
  • 1 quantity cheese sauce (as above)
  • 1 cup vegetables of your choice
  • 4 slices bacon or cooked pieces of meat of your choice

Method

Cook macaroni in boiling water. Undercook it. Drain. Add to large casserole dish. Mix in the warm cheese sauce. 

Add chopped veggies, (broccoli and cauliflower florets or tomatoes and beans) and stir into the macaroni mixture. Cut bacon up into 25mm bits. Fry half of it. Drain off surplus fat. Stir into macaroni mixture.

If you have a grill, finish off dish by topping with slices of tomato and remaining bacon bits.

Put in oven at 180°C until sauce is just bubbling, then turn on grill to crisp the bacon.

If you do not have an oven or grill you can skip the topping. Use one billy to make the sauce and another to cook the pasta and veggies. Fry the bacon in a separate pan then toss everything into the cheese sauce and reheat. Cold leftovers make a tasty lunch that can either be reheated or eaten cold.

Serves two.

– Ruth Henderson

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