Main or Side?

I have my laptop back!  There was nothing wrong with it but the external hard disk with all my music, documents and photos from the London PC was incompatible with my Mac.  I probably should have known this.  Also my MacBook Air doesn’t have enough memory to hold the contents of the hard disk.  I definitely should have known this.  Now I have a lovely, shiny new external hard disk with all the same information as before but compatible with my Mac.  All I need now is someone to show me how to back up my iPod to the hard disk, which is what sent me off to Tekserve in the first place.

Anyway, since I did my last blog spring is most definitely here on this side of the Atlantic – blossoms, bulbs and birds are out in force and I almost sorted through my tights and socks, but didn’t in case I was tempting fate.  Weather like this makes me feel lighter (and yes the diet’s going well too which always helps) and happier, but I find it interesting that in this city most people’s default emotion is anger.  If you accidentally bump into someone, a baleful glare is the least you can expect – a torrent of abuse is more likely.  I have seen more road rage since I moved to New York City than I ever witnessed in London.  Doing the Sex and the City Tour on Saturday I was amused to pass a car with the following notes stuck to it.

It started off so well  in a rather California sort of way…

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But rapidly went down hill in a typical New York way ..

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Anyway, I am still in a good mood, probably because my sleep wasn’t disturbed by this alarm.

So I have had almost a week to think of today’s recipe and I really wanted to reflect the change in weather and give you a recipe with a light feel, but I’m missing you all a lot at the moment.  Sometimes Skype isn’t enough.  I wanted to be able to give Ellie a real hug and congratulate her on becoming a doctor; I wanted to give Tom a hug because his team didn’t win tonight; and I wanted to give the rest of you hugs simply because.  I have therefore chosen a dish that everyone loves and that none of us can believe is a side dish here in the States.  Before we start the ‘but the portions are massive over there’ conversation, I have to say that it is rather yummy as a side and the US recipe is quite different.  Everyone here has their own way of making it, and one of my friends uses four (4) [FOUR] different cheeses in his.  My recipe is much simpler, I think, just be careful making the béchamel – add the milk slowly and whisk to get rid of lumps.  If it does go lumpy, use the hand blender but be careful it doesn’t spray everywhere.

Macaroni Cheese – Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 75 g / 3 oz cooked macaroni
  • 20 g / 3/4 oz butter
  • 20 g / 3/4 oz flour (doesn’t matter what kind you use but white flour makes it look nicer and wholemeat gives it a nuttier slightly sweeter flavour)
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 300 ml / 1/2 pint (UK pint = 20 fluid ounces) milk (I almost always use semi-skimmed)
  • 175 g / 6 oz grated cheese (I use strong Cheddar – I also think it works well with Double Gloucester)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 rashers of bacon, optional
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, optional

Method

Melt the butter very gently in a pan.   Add the flour, mustard and nutmeg.  Mix together and cook for a couple of minutes over a low heat.  Do not allow to burn.

Stir in the milk, a little at a time.  I add the milk, allow it to heat through and then whisk.  Bring to the boil, and stir until thickened.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Stir in 100 g / 4 oz of the grated cheese, stir until all melted.  Check seasoning.  I only ever add pepper but do it to your taste.

Add cooked macaroni and mix well.  Make sure all is heated through.

Put in a buttered dish.  Sprinkle on remainder of grated cheese and put under a hot grill under cheese is browned.  Serve immediately.

If you like you can grill some bacon and put on the top before you sprinkle the grated cheese.  You could also put some sliced hard-boiled eggs on top before you sprinkle the grated cheese.  If you’re feeling wild, and I usually was, you can have both bacon and eggs on top.  Or even better, you can grill the bacon, cut into into pieces (how big depends on you) and stir it through the macaroni cheese before you put it in the dish, THEN you put sliced hard-boiled eggs on top, sprinkle with cheese and grill.

Enjoy!

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