Today started well, we left the house on time, everyone was dressed and everyone had shoes on. Which sounds odd but as a family we have a shocking record for going out without shoes on. Before we moved to the Rickety Cottage we lived a fair drive from school, it would take 40 minutes to get to school in the morning. We pulled into the car park one morning and Mr 7 said "I haven't got my shoes on!" WHAT!!!! Luckily his gumboots were in the boot so he had to wear those for the day as this
terrible mother wasn't doing the 1 hour 20 round trip to bring his shoes down 😉
Then there was the time that we drove to Albany (yes Albany!!! An almost 5 hour drive) and Stew got out of the car without shoes on and asked where his shoes were "No dear I didn't pack your shoes...I assumed you would be wearing them!!" And I have lost count of the number of times that I have put shoes on Mr 3 only to get to where we need to be and find he has taken them off before he got in the car! I now have a pair of crocs permanently in the car.
So yes today started well, it continued well, Mr 3 and I had a nice day at home, playing with Lego, doing some work on the letter S and enjoying the fact the sun was shining and we could get outside. I suggested going to the park but he said he wanted to wait until we had picked his brother up from school so he could come too. He is such a cutie 🙂 So 3 o'clock saw us at school picking Mr 7 up and heading to a local park, next to a little beach area. And here is where the good day ended. If there is water, my children will go in it! At the weekend I took them to the park and beach whilst Stew popped to the supermarket for me. Within 5 minutes they had migrated to the beach and were paddling and splashing each other. Today was no exception, they were enjoying the water, standing at the little beach wall, throwing a stick in and then running around onto the beach, into the water to collect it. A great game, they were having fun, I was sat on the wall taking pictures....until Mr 3 runs towards me....I'm still taking pictures.....until....he collides into me, my phone goes flying and I follow. Straight over the wall and into the water. One very soggy phone and a dripping Claire. It was an accident, but man did it put a dampener on my day. My phone is not working 🙁 Currently it is hiding in a pot of Arborio rice (I was almost out of long grain!) but I don't hold out much hope so I have already made an appointment at the Genius bar tomorrow.....
So I was in need of comfort food tonight, something that warmed and hugged me and made me feel a little bit fuzzy inside. It was a close call, I nearly turned to breaded brie, but:
A) I knew I couldn't blog that as I have already shared the greatest hot cheese dish ever, with you. If you missed it then please get over and have a look....you need this recipe in your life...Breaded Brie....yum...curer of bad days everywhere.
B) I didn't have brie in the fridge and I was wearing wet jeans, no chance of me getting into Woollies.
C) I wanted something I could justifiably eat a lot of 😳 (no idea why my slim cut jeans don't fit!!)
So I turned to one of my other true food loves.....Pasta....and to my favourite pasta recipe of all times. Carbonara. I love it. Bacon, eggs, parmesan and pasta....what is not to like? It is the Italians take on ham and eggs. And in my mind it is the perfect comfort food.
The sauce is no cook. The heat from the pasta will 'cook' the sauce, allowing it to thicken.
There are two camps with carbonara, those who add cream and those who don't. I am firmly in the no cream camp. I learnt to cook it without, I am insistent that it doesn't have cream in when cooked in Italy and I don't think it needs the cream. It is silky, creamy and perfect just with egg.
Some people use just egg yolks, but I don't like to waste egg whites, and realistically how many pavlovas will I make? So I use whole eggs.
The bacon element has to be crispy and salty. The perfect foil for the soft 'creamy' pasta sauce. I use bacon because, it is easy to get hold of, it is always in the house, cheap and cooks easily. In Italy they use guanciale or pancetta. Little lardons of cured salty pork.
The most essential part of this recipe is not over cooking the eggs, otherwise you'll end up with scrambled eggs with pasta and bacon. That isn't what we want, we want a smooth, rich, silky sauce that coats your spaghetti and makes every mouthful a delight. My patented 😉 method for this is to start to count when I drain the pasta (keeping back 1 cup of pasta cooking water) I make sure that I have counted to 20 before I add the hot pasta into the bowl of eggs and cheese. That for me ensures the hot pasta still cooks the eggs, but allows it time to cool enough that we don't get scrambled eggs. The other trick I have is to use a very large bowl for the eggs, and keep the pasta moving in the sauce. I keep lifting and turning until the pasta is all coated and the sauce is looking glossy and thicker.
Tonight I used linguine, I love linguine, it has a great bite and feels nicer to eat, that and I didn't have any spaghetti left, just 3 full packet of linguine. (Must have been on special! 😉 )
- 500 g dried spaghetti - Linguine/penne also works well
- 5 large eggs
- 150 g parmesan
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 225 g bacon (pancetta or guanciale)
- Salt and Pepper
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil, salt generously add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes (or time indicated on packeuntil al dente.
- Remove the rind from the bacon and chop into small pieces. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp.
- Finely grate the cheese into a large bowl, crack in the eggs and whisk until the eggs and the cheese are well combined.
- When the pasta is done, start counting, reserve 1 cup of the water, then drain well.
- Add the pasta to the egg mixture and lift and turn the pasta until the eggs are cooked and the sauce is rich and silky. If it is getting to thick, add a tablespoon of the cooking water. Keep turning and adding until the pasta has a thin coating of 'sauce'.
- Add the crispy bacon and any oil and stir into the pasta
- Season your dish with freshly cracked black pepper and serve immediately.