Guest Blog: The Joys of Parenting (and Macaroni Cheese)

While there are so many ways to adapt Mac and Cheese beyond the standard, I find that I rarely do it. Based on the recipe below from Rob at Taste and Light, I think I should vary it more often. Take a look at Taste and Light and the recipe below….

It seems to me that one of the joys of blogging is sharing. It may sound a bit obvious but just lately I have been reading more and more blogs and thought, that’s me! I have felt like that / done that / been through that. And it can be comforting, reassuring and sometimes amusing.

We have a comedian here in the UK, Michael McIntyre, who has the gift of talking about little everyday things, the minutiae of life in such a way that has you howling at the screen, tears of laughter rolling down your cheeks, thinking – I’ve done that – although of course you may not have thought it funny at the time!

Then one of my posts received a ‘like’ from fellow WordPress blogger the Ranting Chef, so of course I hot-footed it over to have a look. The first post I read was ‘No Chipmonk Cheeks Here’ – and I thought, I’ve been there!

My eldest daughter was about 3 years old (she’s somewhat older now) and we had been cajoling and coaxing to get her to finish her food so we could go out shopping. She wasn’t keen and it had been an uphill battle! Eventually she finished and quietly let us put her coat on and then quietly let us put her in her buggy and quietly walk to the shops. Any chit chat was met with silence. Ok we though, she’s sulking because we made her finish her meal – she needs to learn. After a couple of hours however, this all became a bit tedious which resulted in an exasperated ‘what is the matter’ moment. To which she opened her mouth to reveal lunch. Neatly packed into her cheeks. Daughter 1, Parents 0.

Over the years both girls became extremely adventurous with food, many of our friends were fellow chefs and both girls came to share our passion and love of good food and ingredients (they still do).

But all of this got me thinking, what did they like to eat most when they were young? And I couldn’t remember. My eldest, Jessica, is travelling in India at the moment so I asked Livi – and got quite a long list back, from which I have selected Macaroni Cheese.

Something that surprised me working in the food manufacturing industry is how many people just don’t know how to make a white sauce or think they can’t. Believe me, it’s true and supermarkets in the UK sell an awful lot of macaroni cheese ready to pop into the microwave or oven.

I must admit I never use a recipe for a white sauce; you can adjust things as you go along and this technique helps build confidence and removes over-reliance on slavishly following a recipe, which slows everything down.  But for those of you who prefer a recipe I weighed and measured this one as I cooked; and it has a nice little twist with the wholegrain mustard and pumpkin seeds too.


Macaroni Cheese with Mustard and Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 2


150g macaroni (5.2 ounces)

400ml whole milk

25g butter (2 tbls)

20g flour (4 tsp)

100g grated mature Cheddar cheese (3.5 ounces)

20g wholegrain mustard (4 tsp)

1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the pack, drain well, do not rinse.
  • While the macaroni is cooking melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and mix in well, let the mixture bubble gently for a couple of minutes, this helps to cook the flour.
  • Add the milk gradually, whisking to create a smooth sauce (I use a stick blender for this bit).
  • Add the cheese and mustard and whisk until the sauce is nice and smooth again.


  • Cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon so the sauce doesn’t catch on the pan.
  • Tip the drained macaroni into an ovenproof dish and pour the sauce over.


  • Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and cook for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees centigrade.



*** REMINDER ***

If you have an interest in participating in DICED! A Ranting Chef competition, the deadline is midnight on February 28, 2013. For full details about the competition, see the original post by clicking here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Cheese2, Guest, Italian, kosher, Low Carb, Lunch2, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

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13 Comments on “Guest Blog: The Joys of Parenting (and Macaroni Cheese)”

  1. thebellyrumble
    February 27, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Great post! Thanks for the idea of mustard and pumpkin seed sauce – I also tend to make up recipes as I go along, as it feels more relaxing and quick than worrying about whether that’s a tablespoon or a teaspoon of this or that… but I’m definitely going to steal your recipe and try it out soon!


  2. February 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    The mustard and pumpkin is an interesting combination, never thought of it!


  3. February 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Love this take on M&C!! Yum 🙂


  4. February 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I love to make food with taste and touch and not worry about measuring the ingredients. Mustard is a good way to give white sauce a little kick.


  5. February 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Macaroni cheese is a life saver for me and my sons love it! Its quick, tasty, and easy 🙂 Great recipe! Thanks


  6. February 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    How funny that we both posted about macaroni & cheese today! Needless to say, this version is infinitely classier and tastier.


  7. February 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Reblogged this on GothicHeartsandBatWings and commented:
    Macaroni and Cheese! A childhood favorite and a dish that is so versatile, yet easily screwed up and made a terrible mess of. So of course, your next best thing is always (rather than getting creative in the kitchen) settling for the boxed Mac N’ Cheese from Kraft or simply buying, the inevitable and dreaded, JUNK FOOD. *inserts dramatic gasp*
    But, wait, wait! Before wasting money you don’t have on food that is even worth the $30 – $40, why don’t you turn you sights to the blog Ranting of an Amateur Chef for a real kick-ass recipe for Macaroni and Cheese!
    I was curious to try it out myself and though I have my creative nature in the kitchen, the Macaroni and Cheese I make (though 5 stars to the family); I’ve not had the idea of combining such a delicious blend of wholegrain mustard and pumpkin seeds with a mature Cheddar cheese in an of my Macaroni Cheese inventions. It was mind blowing! Not at all something you would think of combining in with such a pasta dish, but boy was this yummy!
    I most certainly say; if you have not tried this out yet, you must give it a go and devour it!


  8. February 28, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Great sounding version of the standard mac & cheese – thanks!


  9. February 28, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    I have never thought of putting seeds on the top before I roast my macaroni, but maybe I will. This is certainly an adult macaroni!


  10. February 28, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    killer combination of – macaroni & cheese. I love both. 🙂 first time here. great space. happy to follow u


  11. February 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Thank you for all your comments – and thanks to the ranting chef for hosting!


  12. March 1, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    looks incredible. making tonight : )


  13. March 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Funny you should post this. The family and I just went to the “Mac n Cheese Bowl” competition. We sampled many unique combos there. Thanks for another good idea.


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