Every year as the days get shorter and colder, I always find myself craving hearty comforting food. Unfortunately that usually means heavy, carb-loaded, fatty food. Sure, it makes evolutionary sense to bulk for the winter, but considering the temperature in my flat is practically equatorial I think my biological urges can and should be repressed. So, I’ve been pondering ways to trick my body into thinking that it’s getting stodge, and this is one of my current favourites.
Category Archives: Weekday dinners
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.
January is universally acknowledged as the month of detox. Gyms burst at the seams with enthusiastic new joiners determined to stick to their new year’s resolution… this time. Community centres across the country swell with the weight of weight watchers. Just yesterday, in search of a healthy sushi lunch, I was turned away from Yo Sushi due to an inordinately long queue. Call it what you will. Detoxing. Dieting. Getting fit. Yes, everyone’s at it folks. And I’m afraid I’m including myself in that number. For me, however, it’s slightly more epic. You see, I have done absolutely no exercise in the nigh-on nine months since Finn was born. Combine this with the fact that I seem to have continued to eat as if I’m feeding two, you have one mighty miss feedetgastro. Something needs to be done. And fast.
I think by now my regular readers will have gathered that I’m a complete and utter Italiaphile. I love the country, the people (my grandma being one of them), and most of all the food. Despite it’s no doubt devastating effect on my (ever-growing) waistline, I have pasta two or three times a week and, as with most people I’m sure, I have my favourites that never fail to delight and satisfy in equal measure. Most are ready within 20 minutes – surely one of the major perks of pasta – and all are delicious.
It’s winter, I’m feeling poor, so to my mind it’s bangers and mash season. There aren’t many things more British than the humble sossidge served beside a heaping pile of creamy buttery mash. Throw in some onion gravy and you have yourself the plate of kings. In Brighton there’s a great pub that just serves bangers and mash and (as testament to our Great British dedication to this noble dish) a roaring trade it does too. Now, you don’t need to do too much to sausage and mash before you’re in danger of fancifying something that ought to be left well alone. However, I hope my ultimate bangers and mash stays the right side of ruined – it certainly always goes down well in my household. How do you do yours?
Everybody knows that January is a miserably broke affair. A month spent scraping the very dregs of your bank account, pushing the limits of your credit and courting the ever diminishing good grace of your bank manager. However, what is often much forgotten (or much belied), is the similarly barren nature of February. Checking out my bank account this morning I can already see that frugality is going to be the name of the game this month. So, with that in mind, here is my favourite modestly-priced meal for when I want to have a frugal feast (or two) without sacrificing on taste.
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.