I have decided to take a step of bravery and post an Italian recipe. Since finding out my 14th Great Grandfather was from Rome via ancestry.com, I’ve figured that I’m basically Italian anyway.
The Italian cuisine is quite misunderstood in the English-speaking world and the proof of that is all over the internet in comments by angry Italians protecting their cuisine and culture by calling out our inauthentic recipes. I do understand that if we are going to take from their cuisine, we should at least remain true to what a dish is and to the ingredients. If we want to make it our own, we should simple call it something else. Like faux-bonanara or cream-bonara – anything you like.
With this in mind, I hope this recipe is as true as possible to a traditional Roman carbonara, a creamy pasta dish containing the following; guanciale (pancetta can be used as substitute if now available), eggs, pecorino, parmesan, pepper and white wine. The method to make it can vary but, traditionally, the ingredients do not.
Italian food as a rule is very simple which is one of the reasons I love it so much. It is all about making something beautiful by marrying together just a few really great ingredients. That is exactly what this recipe does.
500g pasta (I like to use rigatoni but anything that holds the sauce, spaghetti is most common)
200g pancetta (if you can get guanciale even better)
4 Eggs (1 per portion – we eat double portions in this house)
3a0g parmesan (extra for topping)
Boil the water for the pasta
In a large pan fry the pancetta and add splash of white wine (cook until crispy then set aside to cool)
Meanwhile begin to cook the pasta in salted water
Mix eggs into pancetta
When pasta is al dente, add to the egg mix and toss pasta until fully combined and the emulsified (cook on very low heat and keep the pasta moving – you do not want to end up with scrambled eggs!)
The sauce should be smooth and creamy and should cling to the pasta
Add the cheeses and some cracked black pepper and toss to combine
As we cannot go to Greece, why not bring a little of Greece to our homes instead. Here is my delicious moussaka dish to make your Easter isolation a little more joyous.
As we cannot go to Greece, why not bring a little of Greece to our homes instead. Here is my delicious moussaka recipe to make your Easter isolation a little more joyous.
3 large potatoes
For the meat:
150g minced beef
150g minced lamb
2 cloves garlic
1 splash white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp sugar
For the béchamel sauce
2 egg yolks
Cheddar cheese (optional)
Slice potatoes, aubergine and courgette. Then prepare a large pan with a generous amount of olive oil and begin to fry potatoes. Once cooked, remove from oil and place on plate or tray lined with kitchen roll to remove excess oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme then begin to place a layer of potatoes onto baking dish. Repeat this process for the aubergine and then for the courgette.
Dice onion and lightly fry in olive oil until soft. Then add minced meat and cook for a few minutes till browned. Add tomato puree and mix in then add wine, chopped tomatoes and cinnamon stick and sugar. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and leave to simmer for 30-40 mins.
For the béchamel Sauce
Melt butter in pan. Then add flour, mix in and cook for one minute. Gradually mix in milk, making sure there are no lumps then season with nutmeg and pepper. Leave to simmer for 8-10 minutes then add in the cheese and the eggs yolks.
Layer potatoes, then aubergine, then courgette, then meat, then béchamel into a dish (I like to grate some cheddar on top too). Bake in the over for 35-40 mins.
I want to use this space to share things that will hopefully bring; hope, gratitude and joy, during this uncertain time. Whilst the news is scary and some days are more challenging than others, I have also never felt so grateful than right now for the simple things in life: books, the internet, my morning cup of coffee, a cupboard full of ingredients, fresh air and the morning sun.
So today, I wanted to share this glorious chocolate mousse recipe that I hope can bring a little joy to you and, if you’re lucky enough to be in isolation with them, then your loved ones too.
Mousse au Chocolat (Serves 4)
8 Egg whites (large eggs)
40g Caster Sugar
Melt in bowl butter and chocolate
Beat lemon juice and egg whites until soft peaks form
Add sugar then beat until firm peaks form
Add egg whites to melted chocolate gradually (one third at a time) but quickly and until thick and well combined
Place into containers and put in fridge for 3 hours
Oh Fondue, a gift from the Gods. An evening meal of fondue is as much a part of the traditional ski trip as the skiing itself. A trip to the alps in winter would not be complete without that indulgent moment of finally resting your tired legs after a long day on the slopes, a glass of wine in one hand and a fondue fork in the other, dipping that little cube of cheese into the pot and smothering it in the delicious warm melted cheese and ultimately, devouring a whole pot of melted cheese and wine in one evening. It is continuously a highlight of every ski trip for us.
This oven baked dish made with potatoes, onions, lardons and reblochon cheese is another hearty and cheesy dish, perfect after a long day on the slopes. Potatoes. Cheese. Lardons. It would be hard to go wrong really. It’s rich, filling and on a cold winter’s day; the perfect warming and indulgent meal.
3. Mont D’or
A rich, delectable, cheese baked in the oven and normally served with potatoes and charcuterie.
Self-serve wheel of cheese served with boiled potatoes, salad and charcuterie. I’m ranking this last. Yes, sorry to the raclette lover’s out there but raclette just isn’t the tastiest cheese out there and I seem perpetually disappointed when I order this. I wholly recommend the Mont D’or over this as a substitute. It is richer and far more delicious.
Today I’m sharing my ultimate savoury crepe feast.
Whilst I love a traditional buckwheat galette, using a sweet crepe with savoury ingredients is such a treat. The combination of sweet and savoury and the picking of all the fillings gives me so much joy.
We like to put on a good spread of meats, delicious cheeses, salad, pickles and our key staples; mustard and mayo.
On this occasion we laid out the following:
Salad (lambs lettuce, avocado, tomatoes)
Charcuterie (French saucisson, Italian prosciutto, British ham)
Cheeses (Abondance and Tomme de Savoie – both brought home from our recent visit to Haute-Savoie)
Cornichons and olives
Sauces (mayo and mustard)
For the crepe mix:
2 Large eggs
1 Cup flour
1 ¼ Cup milk
Third Cup sugar
Butter for pan
Whisk ingredients together in a bowl.
Rub a little butter to heated pan
Pour ladle size portion of mix to back and swirl mix to form round crepe.
When crepe begins to bubble on top and lift from the pan, flip and cook other side until each side is golden
Don’t forget to save a couple for dessert and serve with fresh lemon and sugar, Nutella or whatever else your sweet tooth desires.