Spaghetti Carbonara is a long running obsession in my family. My Dad’s obsession, that is. He must have tried every recipe under the sun and we must have sampled dozens of versions. With cream. Without. Some claggy. Some too wet. Some too eggy. Just never quite right. Alway nice, but never reaching the dizzying heights of perfection. Then not too long ago, Dad finally served the ultimate rendition and it reminded me of the pure and fantastic simplicity of Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Eggs and bacon. Perfect in every language.
Category Archives: Pancetta/Bacon
I have literally dozens of cookbooks, and their usual fate is to sit forlornly on the shelf only to be taken down and flicked through once or twice a year when I’m really stuck for an idea (though this should not be revealed to my husband who already suspects this to be the case and is beginning to forbid me to buy any more – horror). There are however a few exceptions; books that are dog-eared and food splattered from constant and varied use. These books are as indispensable to me as my Le Creuset casserole or my favourite knife. And I have a sneaking suspicion that British Seasonal Food by Mark Hix is going to become one of these oft-opened books, always at hand to provide me with some interesting and more importantly seasonal inspiration. In the mere weeks it has been on my shelf it has already been taken down, and even cooked out of, way over its allotted number of times.
Sage is my favourite Christmas herb. In fact, it’s probably my favourite Christmas flavour. It needn’t be reserved for Christmas at all of course (one of the best uses of sage is gnocchi tossed in sage and butter – perfection), but around Christmastime I always seem to go a little bit sage crazy. This year was no exception and I found myself with an absolute glut of sage to use up (aw, shame). Short on time and energy (due to a rotten cold, which I still have, wail!), I decided to experiment with some sagey pastas to work my way through my sage excess.
Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year. When the 1st of December finally finally rolls around I have reached an unholy level of impatient anticipation. The Christmas playlist has been set up weeks ago on spotify and has been playing on loop ever since. Christmas chutneys and mincemeats are happily maturing in a cupboard. Christmas wish lists have been distributed early to family and presents are beginning to stack up behind the sofa (shush, don’t tell). I’ve been repeating, rain-man-like, the number of days until Christmas daily (and even hourly) until my colleagues’ nerves are in tatters. I am well and truly ready for a month of food and festivities. When we finally reach December my taste buds are at fever pitch level. So, this is when I break out my favourite festive flavours and earnestly attempt to incorporate them into every meal I cook.
If there is one thing that America knows how to do it is breakfast. When I lived in America, after a night on the town we regularly used to make late night visits to IHOP (The International House of Pancakes) for a post-match recuperative carb-fest. A couple of times I passed out in the car before we even reached the car-park (sorry Mum), but if I made it to the booth I only had eyes for one order: a blueberry stack with bacon. Now breakfast is one of my favourite meals (along with dinner and, um, lunch…!) – and no doubt through the course of this blog you will hear me wax lyrical about numerous breakfast wares – but truly, blueberry pancakes with bacon is the perfect breakfast. Sweet spongy pancakes, dotted with juicy tart blueberries, served alongside salty bacon, all smothered with ladlefuls of maple syrup. Genius.
I don’t know about you, but for me there is something so comforting about puy lentils. They speak to me of warming wintery stews with sausages, red wine and lots of herbs. Recently when my cupboard seemed depressingly bare, I threw together the random collection of ingredients I did have and this dish was born. And it was bloody delicious. I’ve played around with it since then and this is a new incarnation of what has become a staple dish.