Fanny Cradock is planning her summer holiday, and is hoping you are too. She knows that you will not be anywhere nearly as well travelled as she. She knows that you will not be as well informed on the best places to go. She knows that if going 'abroad' is comparatively unfamiliar to you, and your experience is limited Jersey, Knokke or Dieppe, she has somewhere in mind which will get you using all five of your senses in a manner to which you will very probably have been unaccustomed. So that's us put firmly in our place. I need a holiday.
Where is this paradise for the senses that she has in mind? It's a country of strong, clear, brilliant light which gives an almost theatrical performance at sunrise and sunset. It has white, cubic houses where people wear brilliant costumes among the breathtaking architecture. They have hills. They have beaches. They have unfamiliar smells. Where else but the fair isles of Greece. It would seem that they also have Macaroni Pies.
It's no standard Macaroni Pie of course, this is a Pallas Athene's Macaroni Pie. Fanny seems to have picked this one up on one of her jaunts. She reckons in Greece if you happen across a little Taverna, you are welcome to just trot into the kitchen as a matter of course, lift the lids on the pots, sniff the contents and either say 'thank-you' and go away, or order and go and sit down in the restaurant. I suppose it reduces the need for the gay, colourful Taverna hosts she recalls, who have roles more akin to a performance rather than to serve and receive, to have waiting staff.
This pie is less performance and more pleasure. Simply cook the macaroni, add some dried herbs, grated cheese, blobs of cottage cheese and a good splash of single cream before baking in a moderate oven. I'm not spotting any of the glorious Greek produce that Fanny practically insists you bring back from your Greek holiday. As well as textiles and pottery, Fanny's list of priorities are Halva, Turkish Delight, Olives and Oktapodaki. That's tinned Baby Octopus. Perhaps it's best that she saves that for a more suitably tentacle-icious pie.
Fanny does think that Greece is exciting. Fanny does think that you will need to take pains to 'tune in' to a different way of living. Fanny does think you will need to get accustomed to drinking endless amounts of Ouzo. Greek people, you see, use a lot of oil and resin in their food and wine, neither of which Fanny notes are suited to the rather conservative stomachs of British people. Or other British people, as I assume she means. This must be why she keeps this pie thoroughly suitable for British stomachs, with the absence of all whiffs of Greece. Fanny says you will return from Greece uncomprehending, a little dazed and feeling drunk. This seems to be the case with this pie. Fanny says it makes a filling and suitable adjunct to the overload of meats on offer. Vegetarians rejoice! Fanny cannot resist however mentioning that this particular dish would be greatly improved by the addition of a huge chunk of barbecued meat. So, stick that in your cap and call it Macaroni.