Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Use it all up - primo giorno

While I slothed around at the folk festival for most of the weekend, Mr Quiltingmick spent hours and hours in the garden pruning, weeding, and auditing the overgrown vegetable patch. Seems we still have a lot of tomatoes to use, as well as capsicums and eggplants. I think they call it a "glut" in gardening circles. (He also discovered a heap of cucumbers that were hiding behind the apple tree, but I have no intention of doing anything with them other than giving them to the neighbours or feeding them to the compost. So. Over. Them.)

We're getting towards the end of the summer crop

I've decided this is the week to use the produce up. It doesn't look like we'll be having a winter vegetable garden, so it's now or never.

To this end, I'm pulling out all the cookbooks, all the childhood memories, and a fair whack of "lets just see what happens when ..." to come up with some results we'll be happy to eat, and I'm going to blog them. I'll share the recipes where I can.

Yesterday I made my mum's macaroni cheese. Except I think I've bastardised it along the way, mainly because she used to make it a lot smaller, and I started making it when I first moved to Canberra, and we (all twenty of us) were so poor that we used to have pot luck dinners for our entertainment.

Michelle's Mum's Macaroni Cheese

This makes a whopping amount - feeds 6 really hungry people and 12 for a pot luck dinner.

You'll need:

Tomatoes, sliced (I used about 8 little ones)
A large onion, also sliced
Grated cheddar cheese (I love my cheese, so I use about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
2 and-a-smidge cups uncooked macaroni, cooked
White sauce. I don't care how you make it. Mine is done with butter, flour, milk and lots of white pepper.

Macaroni cheese #1

Mix the white sauce into the cooked macaroni. Best not make it too wet. Grease a big Pyrex casserole dish, and then ...

Layer one third of the macaroni on the bottom of the dish, then a little of the cheese, half the onion, half the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and repeat.

Macaroni cheese #2

End with a layer of macaroni and put cheese on the top. Most of the cheese goes on the top because honestly, the best part of this dish is the cheesy top. Yum.

Macaroni cheese #3

Cook in a preheated 200 degree (celsius) oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the top is browned. If you want the onion to be less crunchy, cook it at 180 degrees for longer.

Macaroni cheese #4

Things most definitely do taste better served in vintage Pyrex!

I make this every few weeks in summer, and freeze it in portions for lunches. Mr Quiltingmick hates it (it has no meat) but I love it and I'm reminded of Saturday night dinners in front of "Hey Hey It's Saturday" when I was a teenager.


  1. Yum! sounds fab (except the tomatoes - ugh, really don't like them!) - good to know it freezes well, I love that idea!

    And all of your veg looks great!

  2. how did you get eggplants? Maybe the thin ones are more successful in Canberra than the bigger ones which failed for me.

    I think that looks like a great mac/cheese. I'm not sure I've ever had a good one - always so gluggy - but yours could be a way to get around that.

  3. That is some fine looking mac and cheese and vintage pyrex. Funnily enough, we used to always have mac and cheese on Saturday nights as well, while watching Hey Hey. It was the retina burning yellow Kraft mac and cheese though.

  4. That all looks so good! I am in desperate need of some new recipes, so I think I may be giving that one a try.

  5. MMmmmm that sounds delish, and I'm in desperate need of things I can cook and then freeze in single portions for when I can't be bothered cooking.
    I had no idea that macaroni cheese was so simple!

  6. Mmm. Tomatoes. Onion. Cheese. What could be better?


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