"Food is life. Life is food. If you don't like my approach, you are welcome to go down to McDonald's" (Keith Floyd)

"If you tried to give rock'n roll another name...you might call it Chuck Berry" (John Lennon)

"All books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened" (Ernest Hemingway)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Macaroni casserole - my life time favorite


My today's cooking is my lifetime favorite food, already from my childhood. 'Makaroonilaatikko' (Macaroni Casserole). I always remember times when my mother cooked it at home back in Finland and that day was like 'A Christmas' for me. But, I have to tell the story from my Primary School times. I was about 10-12 years old. In Finland, the government has provided free warm food in the schools, I think so already about 50 years. It is something unique, what actually is done only in Finland and Sweden, I am not so sure about Norway and Denmark, anyway, it is more or less only in the Nordic countries. Ok, but that was not my main story....In the Primary School, I had a classmate, 'Virtanen' (not his real surname, because of I have decided that in this blog I do not publish anybody's names). Very small and skinny fellow, he was the smallest guy in the class, looked like 2 years younger than the others. But.....he was CRAZY for the Macaroni Casserole. Our teacher had a special rule on that day when Macaroni Casserole was in the day's menu. Before we left to have a lunch to the dining hall, teacher chose 2 guys and gave them special 'mission' : "You two are today responsible to bring 'Virtanen' back from the dining hall, take care he is not late from next lessons. If nothing else does not help, carry him back!" This 'Virtanen' was really something to this dish. I do not even today, 30 years+ later understand, what kind of digestion system he had! I can honestly say, he ate 3 to 5 times more than anyone else. The smallest person in the class and never gain wait...;-) He was really A Mr. Makaroonilaatikko! I have never met him after my Primary School times and have no idea where/what he is doing nowadays.....but, if you Mr. 'Virtanen' happened to read this, I wish your love to Macaroni Casserole still continues. It is such a good dish. Keep it going!

My recipe : (these quantities were more than the pot in pictures took, so I actually cooked also another smaller one)
- Minced beef, ~300 grams
- Minced pork, ~300 grams
- Normal macaroni, ~500 grams
- 1 big onion
- Some spring onion
- Concentrated chicken stock
- Oyster sauce
- White or black pepper powder
- Tabasco (or chili sauce)
- Milk (1 litre) and cream (2 decilitre)
- 4 eggs
- Cheese
Mix minced beef and pork together (I know in Finland you can buy ready mixed in the supermarket, but in Singapore not, they sell it only separately) and spice it with concentrated chicken stock, oyster sauce, pepper powder and a bit Tabasco. Do not use salt, becauce of all the spices already include it. Leave it for 15-20 minutes to absorb. Boil the macaronis about 75% cooked. Peel onion and spring onion and start fry them, after for a while add the already spiced minced beef/pork into the frying pan and let the meat cook to half brownish. Mix the spiced meat/onion 'sauce' with half boiled macaroni and place it to the oiled pan. Mix eggs, milk and cream. Pour it into the pan, so it will almost cover the macaroni/meat 'sauce'. Some shred cheese on the top and into the oven, 200'C about one hour. I'll promise it will melt in your mouth after it. And 'Virtanen' would eat it definitely all!

And music today. This dish is in my opinion very traditional Finnish food. But....macaroni goes to Italy...pasta overall is my favorite thing as well. Italy is country with the very long history. Somehow, even I am travelling a lot, I have never been in Italy. My wife has always wanted to go to Rome and same time to Vatican...one day I will make her wish true! So, music......it must be this tonight.....

Enjoy, my friends