Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Old Friend: Macaroni Cheese

Cook Meter: Intermediate
Cost Meter:  $

Lately I have been getting back to basics and cooking meals that I used to have quite frequently. The ones that you begged your mother not to make when you were little. With all the experimenting I have been doing of late, these kitchen staples have fallen by the wayside, like high school friends being replaced by your cool overly sophisticated uni buddies.

Sometimes the overly sophisticated can be a condescending pain in the butt and walking back into the welcoming arms of a long-time friends can feel like a hot water bottle in a New Zealand winter.

So today I convinced Nick to make Macaroni Cheese, it's my recipe I taught him to cook it and he made enough to feed a truckload of people. Why? I think it's a throw back from family meals, seriously does anyone know the proportions to make Mac'n'Cheese for two. Well I don't. So what will I be eating for the next few days? This, that's for sure.

Disclaimer: this pic isn't the finished result. I just couldn't find a way to make the sloppy mess of Mac'n'Cheese attractive and you know what. I like it that way. It's not trying to be pretty, just chilling, trying to be itself.


250g Macaroni
6 rashers Bacon
4 spring Onion
200g Mushrooms

75g Butter
3 tbsp Plain Flour
3 cups Milk
1 cup Grated Cheese

Additional cheese and breadcrumbs for the top


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

2. Slice the bacon, mushrooms and spring onions and saute in a pan until cooked. Put aside

3. Boil a pot of water and cook the macaroni, drain and put aside.

4. Put a saucepan on a medium heat and melt the butter.

5. Add the flour and stir, you want it to cook for about 3 - 4 minutes like this, if you don't it will taste floury.

6.  Now turn the heat down and slowly add the milk bit by bit. Do not stop stirring, if you do you are going to end up with lumpy sauce.

7.  Once you have used all the milk and the sauce has begun to thicken add the cheese and mix till it has all melted.

8. Stir everything together in a large dish, coat with grated cheese and breadcrumbs and place under the grill until it goes nice and golden brown.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Favourite Things: Chicken Satay

Cook Meter: Amateur
Cost Meter:  $$

When I was in primary school, there was a song we used to sing about Peanut Butter. I felt like my teacher had snuck into my house and had been watching me (in a non scary way) and that I was her muse for this song.

"Peanut butter...yes please, Peanut butter....not cheese"

I was, and still am addicted to peanut butter. In fact, when we have a tub (I now have to resort to buying it ever so often so I don't get fat) it will be gone in a week. A week! And my partner only eats it if there is no marmite.

I like it in ice-cream, in chocolate bars, with jam, with honey, on crackers, in biscuits and with my chicken. I've been looking for a Satay recipe for a while, one that uses coconut milk. The luscious creamy type that makes you want to lick your bowl and I have finally found it, in the New Idea of all places.

Even Nick turned to me and said, "This is the best satay I have ever had, including all the restaurants I have been too."
Adapted from New Idea's Creamy Chicken Satay

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
270ml can light coconut milk
2 tbsp Indonesian sweet soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
8 chicken thigh fillets
2 tblsps peanut oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 cup of frozen peas
150g  of snow peas


1. Heat half of the peanut oil in a wok. Brown and cook the chicken.

2. Add the other half of the oil and fry the garlic and onion until soft, add the spices.

3. Mix together in a bowl the soy, peanut butter, coconut milk and stock.

4. Put the chicken and the peanut sauce mixture into the wok and cook for 5 mins.

5.  Add the vegetables and cook for a further 1 - 2 minutes. You want the vegies hot but not soft.

6. Serve with rice.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Morrocan Kefta Mkaouara Tagine

Cook Meter: Intermediate
Cost Meter: $$

It's fantastic when the people that you care about share the same loves as you. I recently went to a friend's house who was showing me their photos as I hadn't seen them in over a year.

They were definitely my kind of photos, basically of every delicious meal that they had ever cooked or eaten. Pies, Fry-ups a bit of everything. We talked about food how much we love eating it, talking about it, taking photos of it. Recommended recipes books, the best bakeries for pies (this is something that is always a conversation staple between kiwis)

It was on this fabulous food porn session that I stumbled across a photo of a meal that funnily enough Amelia, contributor of this recipe had cooked for a group of friends.
I had never seen anything like it, this meal was fabulous. I didn't use Amelia's recipe but tracked down one that I had the ingredients for and got to creating it. It's made for sharing, so when you have a group of friends around cook it, or do what we did and take left overs to work the next day. It tastes even better than the first day.

Morrocan Kefta Mkaouara Tagine (adapted from a recipe in The Food Of Morocco: A Journey For Food Lovers by Jane Lawson)

500g mince
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 bunch of flat parsley (chopped)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika

Tomato Sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
2 cans of tomato
1 can of drained chickpeas
4 eggs
1/2 block of feta
Fresh coriander to garnish


1. Mix all the meatball ingredients together until they bind.

2. Create meatballs with 1 Tbsp of meatball mixture.

3. Brown meatballs on all sides and then set aside.

4. Clean the pan and saute the garlic and onion for the tomato sauce.

5. Add the spices and the cans of tomatos and chickpeas and simmer for 20 mins.

6. Place the meatballs into the sauce and cook for another 10 mins.

7. Break eggs into the dish, and let them cook.

8. Top with chopped coriander and sprinkle with feta.
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