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Christine Thackwell, Birkenhead

Casual Foodie

Consider a busy food operation in the heart of Birkenhead in Auckland’s North Shore preparing over 400 gourmet meals a day to discerning clients and their number one favourite is their Mac ‘n’ Cheese.

The popular home comfort food - no surprise there - but ask the next question and the answer will certainly bring a smile to your face.
The recipe (much requested) is the Edmonds classic recipe.
“No one believes us when we say it’s the Edmonds recipe” says owner/chef Christine Thackwell “but seriously, it’s so popular!”

Christine’s background is serious café food. From 1992 she was the energy and powerhouse behind some of Auckland’s top cafes. Starting with Trinity Café in Parnell in 1992, and moving in 1998 to start Gloria Cafe in Anzac Ave, she was doing Eggs Benedict and Focaccia before any of it was popular.

Christine does not have chef’s training, but started cooking when she was flatting at 18 and followed Robert Carrier French Cooking magazines alongside her beloved Edmonds Cookery Book.

Her last café was started in 2003, Grace Cafe in Birkenhead, and then in 2010 it was time, with her business partner Nikki Hartley, to move into supplying delicious café fare in portable containers for people to enjoy at home. Their business is expanding with more and more people wanting great portable good options at home - or should we say more Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Edmonds?

Christine’s Favourite Edmonds Recipe

“No question: the Edmonds Macaroni Cheese. We have made a couple of little changes, removing the onion to be more ‘child-friendly’ and the cheese is a combination of Edam and Tasty, but essentially it’s the same recipe. A helpful tip is to use the cheese crumbs at the bottom of the packet – everything from feta and blue cheese can be used up that way.”

More baking tips from Christine

  • When cooking chopped onion, spend the time to make sure the onion is soft before adding any other ingredients, or proceeding on to the next step. It makes a huge difference to the end result.
  • When making bechamel sauce, cook out the flour well on a low heat. Don’t rush it. Take the cooked out flour and butter off the heat and add the milk gradually, stirring all the time for great results.
  • Good heavy based pots make all the difference. Cheap pots destroy results.
  • Don’t open the oven door to check when baking and cooking – use a timer and trust the recipe.
  • Know your oven. They are all different. Get it calibrated, if not performing as it should.

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