You know that limbo land between being awake and being asleep? When you’re not sure whether you’ve fallen asleep or you’re still awake? I find the answers to many problems there. Inspiration or answers? Whatever you want to call it, I wake in the morning and find that I have the answer to something that I didn’t even know was bothering me.
Last night my subconscious (a voice? But that sounds kind of freaky!) kept saying to me “Search among your passions and you will find your dreams”. It didn’t say it once or twice, but many, many times and when I awoke this morning I had time to think of it and what it all meant.
You know that feeling when you think time is passing by and you haven’t achieved your dreams? Sometimes I struggle to think if I had any dreams anyway. Was it small to dream of having four beautiful children, bringing them up to adulthood, or was it in fact the biggest dream I could have had? The largest passion of my life?
I haven’t changed the world, but in my own corner of it nothing gives me greater joy than seeing my family around my table. They are my dreams.
One of our favourite family recipes is ‘Macaronia tou Fournou’ or ‘Baked Macaroni’, essentially a pasta and mince meat layered dish, topped with an egg enriched Bechamel sauce and cheese and baked until bubbling and golden and utterly delicious!
Macaronia Tou Fournou:
1, 500g pack of long macaroni. (If you can’t find long macaroni, which looks like spaghetti but is much thicker and tubular, use bucatini, or penne at a pinch)
500g minced pork or beef
2 onions chopped finely
1, 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato purée
Salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, dried mint (1tsp of each)
1 sm glass of red wine.
For Bechamel Sauce;
1.5 pints of milk
6 heaped tbsp self raising flour
6tbsp flavourless oil
3 eggs, beaten
Grated cheddar cheese or halloumi or a mixture of both.
1. Boil macaroni until al dente.
2. While the pasta is cooking, fry the onions in a small amount of oil until golden, add the minced meat and cook until no pinkness remains, add the tomatoes, purée, wine, salt, pepper and all the spices, turn heat to low and simmer for about 20 mins.
3. Layer half of the pasta in a large baking dish, cover with the mince, then the rest of the pasta.
4. Get on with making the sauce, heat the oil in a large pan, add the flour and cook out for a minute or so.
5. Very slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. Add the salt.
6. Once the sauce has begun to boil (you will see large bubbles popping all over it) turn it off and take it off the heat.
7. Slowly add the beaten eggs and stir well.
8. Pour over the pasta and top with the grated cheese(s)
9. Bake at 180deg C for about 45-60 mins until golden and bubbling.
This is a really gorgeous, family dish which we all love.
Especially for my children. My passion. My dreams.