Novice spaghetti carbonara

I’ve tried for ages to get a good carbonara recipe that I can knock up at home. Genarro Contaldo’s recipe is a brilliant place to go, although I find using yolks only too thick (although I’m just probably not a good enough cook!) Antonio Carluccio also has a good recipe online, but he uses traditional meat which is harder for us all to come by, so the below uses everyday ingredients.

This recipe is really simple, but to stop things from curdling, the method, while straightforward, is important.

For two people, I go for the below ingredients to produce a really creamy, rich carbonara.

Ingredients

  • Two eggs and one egg yolk
  • 50g grated parmesan (plus extra to serve)
  • 100g pancetta cubes (roughly)
  • 250g fresh spaghetti
  • Pepper

Method

On a medium heat, get your pancetta on in a frying pan. I put the pancetta in straight away with no oil, enough fat comes out as the heat builds, so don’t add to it, you’ll only end up taking it out.

  • Next, stick pan of salted boiling water on, and add your fresh spaghetti – this won’t need long.
  • In a bowl, mix the parmesan, eggs and a generous crack of pepper until all combined into a gloopy, cheesey mixture.
  • When your pancetta is browned, reduce to a really low heat. Once the spaghetti is cooked, add to the pancetta, allowing a some pasta water to carry over. Note: do not throw the pasta water away, leave the saucepan on the turned off ring/hob that you cooked the spaghetti in.
  • Combine the pancetta and spaghetti, and now carefully place the frying pan on top of the saucepan. From here, add the sauce, and stir around. What will happen is that the residual heat from the pan and water will cook through the egg but won’t be hot enough to scramble it. You’ll also find that having egg white involved means the sauce is loose enough to cook through quickly.
  •  Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and another crack of black pepper

Novice slow roasted crispy duck

Not my normal Sunday roast, but a bird in the oven and a smile on my face all the same!

Get a 1.2kg duck, rub it with salt inside and out, a sprinkle of five spice, and in the oven it goes on 170c for a couple of hours.

Every now and then, carefully spoon away the fat that comes out of the bird – this will help the skin to crispen up.

I like to let mine rest for a good 15 minutes or so, allowing all the juice to come out, before placing the bird on a board in the centre of the table and letting everyone pick their meat off and make their wraps.

 

Jamie Oliver potato and chorizo breakfast hash

This is a brilliant recipe to have up your sleeve because, not only is it simple and delicious, but it’s cheap and made up of many ingredients you may well have at home.

It’s warming, full of flavour and even the most novice chef can do it!

 

Access the recipe by visiting Jamie Oliver’s website here.

Jamie Oliver’s lemon sole with green beans

The start of the New Year always brings out the best intentions, one of which for most of us it to eat well.

This dish from JO is fresh, healthy and ridiculously easy to make.

You kind find the receipt here, and while mine doesn’t look like Jamie’s, it was a lovely little dish to knock up at home after a day at work.

Jamie Oliver’s Spanish tortilla

This is a really good recipe to have in your locker a week before payday when money might be a bit tight. A handful of relatively cheap ingredients (potatoes, eggs and onion) and you’ve got a tortilla the size of an average pizza.

I served this with a simple Spanish salad with some chorizo and goats cheese, the saltiness of the cheese and chorizo cuts through the density of the tortilla.

This recipe is a great base, and would work really will with some peppers or chorizo going straight into the tortilla.

Find the recipe here.

Gennaro Contaldo’s perfect tomato and mozzarella linguini

Simple, fresh and delicious, this is a great recipe to keep in your locker for midweek speedy dinner. The freshness of the tomatoes and the little hum of chilli is great. However, the star is the mozzarella, which melts and adds some creamy goodness to the dish!

You can get the recipe by watching Gennaro at work here on YouTube.

Chicken madras salad

We had some madras paste and an assortment of salad vegetables from a fish curry to use up, so remembered a Jamie Oliver recipe and chucked a the ingredients together in the hope it would make dinner.

We were pretty happy with the result!

The dinner is a bed of spinach leaves, spring onions and cucumber ribbons. topped with griddled chicken in madras paste dotted with a load of feta cheese.

There is also a sprinkling of mustard and cumin seeds lightly fried in sesame oil.

We served this with some mango chutney (from a jar not homemade…)

This actually keeps really well for work the next day, as the cold chicken really takes on the madras flavours more.