The Ultimate Mac and Cheese

3/12/2008 02:34:00 PM

I love déclassé cookbooks. Think - bright colours, step-by-step pictures accompanying simple recipes, bold capitalised typeface, out-of-focus photos of Tiramisu, that sort of thing. I'm not quite sure why I love them so much. Perhaps it's because they remind me of my mum's 1988 collection of Women's Weekly cookbooks, which I loved to read as a small child. Or maybe it's just because they're just so cheap.

Back when I used to work at a shopping centre, I used to buy some of these books every other week on sale at the Borders there. I can't say no to a bargain. And although I no longer work in close proximity to a Borders, the lure of the bargain bin still beckons. A couple of weeks ago I was rummaging through , when I found a proper bargain...

Tyler's Ultimate by Tyler Florence. For $14.95!!! WOAH! It's a celebrity chef book, big and thick with Petrina Tinslay photos and extremely trendy recipes. I would have expected to pay around $50 for it. I have no idea why it was so cheap, but I'm glad it was! In addition to bills food, I have been watching a good deal of Tyler Florence late at night on the Lifestyle Food channel. (Click here for the upcoming program listing).

Long story short: love Tyler, love the book, got myself into the kitchen and made his ultimate Macaroni Cheese. It's a bit fiddly, but not difficult, and perfectly distracting for those times when you know you should be doing something more important but can't be bothered. You have to boil the pasta, make a white sauce, bake those together, and cook some peas and bacon to sprinkle on top. Photo above.

I was apprehensive giving this to my dad for dinner - mac and cheese is a very non-Asian dish, and I was worried he might find it too rich, especially with the bacon and pea topping. I needn't have worried though, he loved it, and we all actually found that the pea and bacon topping cut through the bland richness of the pasta itself.

Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom. It's an elegant yet simple take on homestyle comfort food, without trying too hard. Nice.

Recipe available here.

EDIT: I just saw the Tyler's Ultimate Mac and Cheese program on TV, and noticed that his "TV ultimate mac and cheese" is different from his "Book ultimate mac and cheese". On TV, his topping has no peas, just onion, garlic and bacon. Bizarro!

You Might Also Like


  1. Hey Sarah, mac and cheese seems to be all the rage at the moment!! My girlfriend went to Rockpool and she said it was on the menu as a side dish!!!! Crazy popular at the moment! Your timing is spot on. Vida x

  2. I flipping love macaroni cheese, yours looks pretty ultimate indeed! I love the idea of bacon and peas with it. I also love declasse cookbooks (which is a nice name for them as well.)

  3. Sarah, Cindy has posted about the second get together and all the details for the lunch at Dromana, all the links are there too... hope to see you there!! Vida x

  4. Macaroni Cheese **She said slightly embarassed** is one of my ultimate comfort foods, but not made with a block of that Kraft processed stuff that comes in a box, like one of my ex's loved.

    This version reminds me a bit of the Chinese Yin Yang Rice - slosh a bit of tomato sugo amongst the peas and you'd be there.

    I don't eat it very often - too high fat and carb - my doctor's told me to cool off that kind of thing AND the vanilla slices. Oh boy - but it could be great finished off in PG's wood fired oven at Bloggers Banquet 2...mmm!



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.